The present and past governments have been advised to refrain from using achievements of macroeconomic targets, particularly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to score political point since it has not impacted positively on the Ghanaian population.

According to Economist and Finance Lecturer, Professor Godfred Bokpin, of the University of Ghana Business School, the time is ripe for government to avoid celebrating statistics since to his estimation it has not translated into improvement in the lives of majority Ghanaians.

“I think the time has come; if you look at the way both parties had to debate statistics [economic date] which necessarily may not put food on the table, which necessarily is not helping in limiting the poverty of opportunities available to Ghanaians”, he pointed out in his reaction to the 2021 Budget and Economic Policy on Newsfile.

“And we have spent quite a lot of time since 1992 to talk about GDP. GDP that we cannot celebrate, GDP that did not come along with job creation, GDP that we don’t see on our table given the low local content of our economy”, he further said.

Professor Bokpin was worried the two major political parties [NPP & NDC] are only interested in debating statistical data instead on focusing on the development and welfare of the people who matters in an economy.

“So if you look at the last three decades [30 years], even with the progress that we are talking about it is coming with huge inequalities and covid-19 has made it worse. And when we get to the budget proper we will look at whether the budget helped to bridge the gap”.

He further noted: “so going forward, I will plead with the two political parties that enough of these statistics, can we lift the veil and begin to look at the people, because at the center of economic policy is the people, if it is not about the people, let us not talk about it.”

“It is important that we begin to introduce that dimension [analysis] that also shapes the data we collect, it also shapes that narratives and it also shape how political parties fashion their manifestos which will ultimately pass through the budget because the manifestos in itself may not translate to useful outcome; it has to go through the budget and I think that is the way to go”, he emphasised.

According to Professor Bokpin, many countries are now measuring indices centered on the progress of their people and not just statistical data.

“We are a little behind because if you look at the development literature, people have moved beyond GDP. Other countries are talking about Gross Happiness Index, others are talking about Social Progression Index, Human Development Index and all of that.”

“Others are measuring the health of their economic recovery on the number of jobs that are being created on monthly basis, on quarterly basis, so that is the way to go because GDP doesn’t necessarily mean that all is well with Ghanaians – no we are also looking at the redistribution effect of that”, he added.