Graphic Business News

Statistical Service sets new timeline to rebase CPI

By: Suad Yakubu
Acting Government Statistician, Mr. Baah Wadieh

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has once again failed to announce inflation figures for the country using a rebased Consumer Price Index (CPI) in its calculation.

In the last several months, the service had given excuses about why it has not been able to complete the exercise to give Ghanaians a true picture of the level of inflation in the country.

This is against the backdrop that changes in the CPI base year is necessary for assessing current expenditure and consumption patterns, relative to economic performance from the previous reference point.

But at the last news conference to announce the inflation figures for August, it gave the assurance once again that measures are being put in place to ensure that the base year for determining the CPI is changed next month, to reflect 2012 to 2017. 

The CPI, which measures the change over time in the general price levels of good and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption, is rebased over time to reflect the changing trends in the price levels and to capture more items into the inflation basket.

Although the United Nations (UN) recommends that the CPI basket must be rebased every 10 years, in Ghana, it is done every five years. 

However, the last time the GSS rebased the CPI was in 2010 and the Service has kept postponing the dates for the exercise to be done to enable the people to get the true picture of the country’s inflation. 

The Acting Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh, at a news conference to announce the Inflation rate for August 2018 on September 12, said the GSS was still putting in efforts to rebase the index to 2017 by October.

“We are working to have it either by the end of the month or around the same time we have the next CPI”, he said.

 Constant postponement 

Prior to this announcement, however, there had been a series of earlier notices of rebasing, since the beginning of 2018. In January 2018, the GSS speculated a change in the base year in May and later, in July. 

It again advertised the rebased figures on August 15 but following concerns raised at its stakeholder meeting to deliberate on some of the new items which have been added to the new rebased price basket, it was postponed again. 

Currently, October is the targeted time for the rebasing activity.

August inflation goes up

The inflation rate for August 2018 inched up from 9.6 per cent in July to 9.9 per cent, recording a 0.3 per cent rise. The monthly change rate in August 2018 was 0.0 per cent, compared to the preceding month’s 0.4 per cent rate.

Inflation is determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures the change over time in the general price levels of goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption.

Addressing the press at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in Accra, on September 12, the acting Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh, attributed the steady rise to the cedi’s depreciation and increase in fuel prices. 

Inflation rates for both food and non-food inflation experienced an upsurge. The average food inflation for August was recorded as 7.9 per cent while non-food inflation was valued at 10.8 per cent.

The main price drivers that gave non-food inflation an upper hand over food inflation rates were identified as clothing and footwear, representing 15.2 per cent, Transport (15.1 per cent), Recreation and culture (13.9 per cent), Furnishing, household Equipment and Routine Maintenance(12.6 per cent) and Miscellaneous goods and services formed 11.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the main price drivers for food inflation were coffee, tea and cocoa (11.3 per cent), fruits (10.6 per cent), Meat and meat products (10.0per cent), Mineral water, soft drinks, fruits and vegetable juices (9.3 per cent) and Vegetables representing 8.4 per cent.

At the regional level, five out of the 10 regions in Ghana recorded inflation rates above the 9.9 per cent  the national average inflation rate (Upper West, Brong Ahafo, Western, Ashanti and Northern regions).

Upper West Region recorded the highest year-on-year inflation rate of 11.8 per cent, followed by Brong Ahafo Region (10.8 per cent), while the Upper East Region recorded the lowest year-on-year inflation (8.2 per cent) in August 2018. — GB