The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is to extend the computation of inflation figures to the six newly created regions.
The new regions, Oti, Bono East, Western North, Ahafo, Savannah and North East, which were created in February this year, will give the GSS the opportunity to present data on all 16 regions.
The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, announced this new development at a press briefing to announce the inflation rate for August 2019 on September 18.
The GSS, he said, had started work in that regard and would soon announce the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the newly created regions.
“It is imperative for us to think about the CPI for the six newly created regions and exercise on this has started. Our expectation is that if all things go as expected, by the end of the year, we should release the CPI and inflation for all 16 regions in the country,” he said.
The CPI measures the average change in the price level of goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption.
Prof. Annim explained that this new reform was part of efforts by the GSS to sustain improvements in the statistics that it generated.
Meanwhile, data from the GSS indicated that inflation for the month of August was 7.8 per cent. This followed the rebasing of the index from the previous reference year of 2012 to 2018.
The 7.8 per cent recorded in August was largely driven by food inflation with a rate of 8.2 per cent. The non-food component of the inflation figure was 7.4 per cent.
Fruits and nuts (25.2%), Cereals and cereal products (10.6%), sugar confectionery and deserts (9.05%), and ready-made food and other food products (8.3%) were the major drivers of the food inflation.
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics (12.9%), transport (10.2%) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (9.9%) were the key drivers of the non-food inflation in August.
At the regional level, the year-on-year inflation rate ranged from 3.9 per cent for Eastern Region to 12.4 per cent for Greater Accra Region.
The Ashanti Region recorded an inflation rate of 4.6 per cent, Western Region (5.1%), Upper East Region (5.5%), Brong Ahafo Region (6.2%).
The rest are Upper West (11.8%), Central Region (9.1%), Volta Region (8.4%) and Northern Region (6.6%).
Following the rebasing of the CPI, the items in the basket used to compute inflation figures had increased to 307 from the previous 267. Again, data collection points has also increased from 42 markets in the old basket to 44 markets in this new one.
Use of weights
He also explained that there was the need for a national consensus on the use of weights to inform pricing.
This, he explained, would be a clear departure from the use of perceptions and attitudes to determine prices of commodities in the markets.
“It is important that at the national level, we think about the weighing of items to inform pricing. This is a challenge to the data that we collect from the market.
If you get to the market and the market woman says that this heap cost this amount, it is largely influenced by seasonality, perceptions and attitudes. There is no scientific approach by which the pricing is done, especially for items that are weighted,” he explained.
The GSS, he ,therefore, added was putting forward that proposal to make it a national policy for markets sellers to price their commodities based on the weight of items rather than heaps, guess work and seasonality.