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11 October 2016

NPP Manifesto launch: Claims by Bawumia fact-checked, only one entirely true

bawumiaThe National Patriotic Party (NPP) launched its 2016 manifesto in Accra, this Sunday and a team of fact-checkers subjected five claims made by the party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Dr Mahamud Bawumia to scrutiny.

It was found that only one of them was entirely true. Two claims were found to be true but misleading, whiles one claim was found to be mostly true and another was a half true.

Below are the claims he made, the fact-checking verdicts and the basis for the verdicts.

Claim 1: Moody’s did not upgrade Ghana. Ghana’s rating under Moody’s is still B – . It is only the outlook that has been revised. And that is not equivalent to a change in ratings or a rating upgrade.

Verdict: Entirely True

Explanation: According to an announcement by Moody’s Investor’s Service on 23 September 2016, affirmed the Government of Ghana’s sovereign credit rating was affirmed at B3 and its outlook changed from negative to stable. The key fact in this latest credit rating action by Moody’s on Ghana is that it is an affirmation and not an upgrade. Of course, Dr. Bawumia’s decision to use the Fitch and S&P equivalent of Moody’s B3 rating (B-) is probably for political expediency but it is nonetheless still accurate.

The change in outlook, which was what Ghana recorded, does not amount to a change in rating. It may however reflect an opinion regarding the likely rating direction over the medium term (usually about two years) as result of recent credit or economic developments.

Furthermore, Moody’s clearly states in its latest document on rating symbols and definitions that, “An Affirmation is generally issued to communicate Moody’s opinion that a publicly visible credit development does not have a direct impact on an outstanding rating.” Also, a stable outlook, like was recorded by Ghana, indicates “a low likelihood of a rating change over the medium term.”

This clear differences between a credit rating change and a change in outlook is one that is shared by other major credit rating agencies like the Standard and Poor’s and Fitch.

Claim 2: The Mo Ibrahim 2016 report on governance shows that on virtually all key indicators such as safety and the rule of law, human rights, economic opportunities, infrastructure, business environment, human development, health and public management. All these indicators, Ghana is worse off today than it was 10 years ago.

Verdict: True but Misleading

Explanation: As can be seen from the table prepared below from the recent Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, the scores of the specific indicators Dr. Bawumia stated have indeed deteriorated over a 10-year period (2006-2015). However, Dr. Bawumia’s biased selection of key indicators and sub-indicators resulted in a skewed representation. This is because there were some indicators and sub-indicators where Ghana’s score had improved over the 10-year period.

Table 1: Change in Scores of Specific Indicators from 2006-2015
Indicators/Sub-indicators

Change in Score (2006-2015)

Safety and the rule of law
-2.6

Human rights
-3.1

Sustainable Economic opportunities
-4.2

Infrastructure
-6.9

Business environment
-4.5

Human development
-1.6

Health
-7.3

Public management
-7.7

Source: Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Claim 3: Mr. Chairman, the Kayeyei are also been taxed under Mahama’s government. They are made to pay market tolls.

Verdict: True but misleading.

Explanation: It is true that the local head porters, popularly called “kayayei” are being taxed. City authorities collect market tolls, which is a form of taxation from them. But this practice did not start in the John Mahama’s NDC government. A study by Kwankye, Anarfi, Tagoe & Castaldo (2007) showed that at least as far back as in 2007, when the NPP was in power, the kayayei’s were made to pay market tolls. According to the researchers;

“At market and transport stations, kayayei are supposed to pay a daily toll to the local authorities, which then allows them to operate for the day within that jurisdiction. However, some kayayei do try and evade paying this daily toll, often running away at the sight of authorities. Others are openly confrontational and refuse to pay the toll, leading to physical abuse by authorities.” (Kwankye et al., 2007, p.15)

So while the claim is true, presenting the issue as if it started in and was exclusive to the John Mahama administration is misleading.

Claim 4: The IMF in its recent review of the Ghanaian economy has warned that Ghana is on the cusp of financial and economic crisis

Verdict: Half True

Explanation: In the recent IMF 3rd Review of Ghana’s economic programme, the closest remark which supports Dr. Bawumia’s claim to an extent could be found where “risks to the program” were outlined. The full paragraph is as follows:

“Successful implementation of the program requires continued strong policies and reform implementation in the coming months—particularly through the upcoming election period, when financing conditions might get tighter still. In the context of the now much higher public debt level, a replay of the past spending splurges in election years would greatly heighten the risk of a full-blown economic and financial crisis and undermine Ghana’s development progress…It will be very important for the government to sustain fiscal transparency and be ready to tighten policies aggressively as the situation warrants.”

Though there appears to be some basis for Bawumia’s claim, IMF’s “warning” is more complicated than Bawumia let’s on and is premised on several scenarios that may or may not happen.

Claim 5: Since 2011, real GDP growth has declined steadily and drastically from 14% with the onset of oil production to 3.9% in 2015. Projected GDP growth for 2016 is even lower. Basically fellow Ghanaians, the economy notwithstanding the production of oil is on course to record a lower growth rate than in the year 2000, which was 3.7%.

Verdict: Mostly True

Explanation: Ghana’s real GDP growth according to the World Bank was 14.05% in 2011, and that this dropped to 3.88% in 2015. Also, both the World Bank and the IMF project lower GDP growth in 2016 than was recorded in 2015. According to the World Bank, “overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2016 could be below the 3.9% growth in 2015 due to production problems in the oil sector.” The IMF, also on the basis of the disruptions to production in the oil sector, project a weakened GDP growth. According to IMF’s 3rd Review Report (p. 49) released on October 3, 2016, Ghana’s “GDP growth is expected to slow down to between 3 to 4 percent in 2016”. Also, if one is to go by IMF’s earlier specific GDP growth estimate of 3.33%, then Dr. Bawumia’s claim that the expected growth in 2016 will be lower than the 3.7% recorded in 2000 is true.

However, it must be stated that the Ministry of Finance in its recent Mid-Year Review of the 2016 Budget had more positive expectations of growth for the year. “In 2016, overall GDP is expected to grow by 4.1 percent, while non-oil GDP (excluding oil and gas) is expected to grow by 4.6 percent”, the document stated.

NPP Manifesto Launch: Pres. Kufuor’s Claim on Per Capita Income & Middle Income Status Half True

Former President, John Agyekum Kufour’s claim about Ghana’s per capita income and middle-income status were found to be half-true when fact-checked. He was speaking at the National Patriotic Party’s manifesto launch in Accra on October 09, 2016.

Claim 1: We can only fight poverty by creating wealth. We should not, therefore, shy away from wealth creation. From a highly indebted poor country with a per capita gross domestic product of $400 in 2001, we were able to attain lower middle-income status with a per capita income of $1,300 by the year 2007.

Verdict: Half True

Explanation: Ex-President Kufuor was right to an extent in claiming that his government created wealth from the year 2001 to 2007. This was evidenced by the steady growth in per capita income recorded within the period. But, according to the World Bank, Ghana’s GDP per capita in 2001 was $275.5 and $1,099 in 2007. Ex-President Kufuor, therefore, understated the GDP per capita figure for 2001 and overstated for 2007.

Additionally, Ghana also officially attained lower Middle Income Country (MIC) status in November of 2010 and not in 2007.

NPP Manifesto Launch: 2 Claims by Alan Kyeremanten Fact-Checked – Both False
The National Patriotic Party (NPP) launched its 2016 manifesto in Accra, this Sunday. When our team of fact-checkers subjected two claims made by Alan Kyeremanten to scrutiny, it was found that his estimate of youth unemployment was completely false whiles his claim about growth in the manufacturing and mining sector was found to be mostly false. Below are the specific claims he made, the fact-checking verdicts and the bases for the verdicts.

Claim 1: According to the World Bank, about 48 percent of Ghanaians between the ages of 15-24 are unemployed.

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: Generally, the 15-24 age group is the conventional definition of youth. Unemployment rates largely refer to the percentage of a population that is available and actively looking for work but are without jobs. In Ghana, the Ghana Statistical service through the labour force model of the Ghana living Standards Survey (GLSS) collects work-related statistics from selected households to track employment and labour related developments in the country.

According to the most recent report (GLSS 6) covering 2013, the unemployment rate among the 15-24 age group was 10.9%. This figure contradicts the 48% cited by Alan Kyeremanten at the NPP manifesto launch. Mr Kyeremanten’s figure may or may not be related to several news reports that emerged earlier this year. In these stories which were supposed to be based on a 2016 World Bank report, it was claimed that 52% of persons in Ghana aged 15-24 were employed as against about 90% of 25-64 age group.

This led to the erroneous conclusion that 48% of the Ghanaian population aged 15-24 were unemployed. What these news reports failed to highlight was that many young people within this age bracket were less likely to hold jobs because they were schooling. In fact, according to a 2016 World Bank report on youth employment in Ghana, about a third (31%) of the 15-24 age group were economically inactive because they were in school.

Further, only 4% of the 15-24 age group were considered unemployed even though 14% of this age group were not working while also being out of school. The crux of the World Bank’s report is that youth who are out of school and economically active generally have access to jobs, but these jobs are of poor quality. So, in light of the above current and credible evidence, Mr Kyeremanten’s claim of 48% unemployment among 15-24 aged persons in Ghana is actually false.

Claim 2: In 2015, manufacturing recorded a negative growth of -2 percent while mining recorded a negative growth of -3.8 percent.

Verdict: Mostly False

Explanation: According to the 2016 mid-year budget review, the manufacturing sector was reported to have “registered a growth rate of 2.2 percent, an improvement over the contraction recorded in 2014. Mining and Quarrying, however, recorded a negative growth of 2.9 percent, mainly on account of reduced gold production and subdued growth in the upstream petroleum industry.” So contrary to Mr. Kyeremanten’s claim, the manufacturing sub-sector did not record a negative growth in 2015. Additionally, it is partly true that the mining sector recorded a negative growth but, Mr. Kyeremanten exaggerated the figure.

NPP Manifesto Launch: 2 Claims by Nana Akufo-Addo Fact-Checked – 1 Entirely True, Another Half-True

Nana Akufo-Addo’s claim about Ghana’s GDP growth rate was found to be half true while his claim about the unemployment of hygiene workers was found to be entirely true. He was speaking at the National Patriotic Party’s manifesto launch in Accra on October 10, 2016. Below are the specific claims he made, the fact-checking verdicts and the basis for the verdicts.

Claim 1: The economy has shrunk systematically with this year’s GDP growth rate being the lowest for 22 years.

Verdict: Half True

Explanation: If one is to use the projected GDP growth estimate of the IMF for 2016 which stood at 3.33%, then Akufo-Addo’s claim would be perfectly accurate. This is because it was in 1994 that Ghana recorded a GDP growth of 3.3%. However, there’s considerable uncertainty surrounding the projected growth for the year 2016, hence it is quite untenable to categorically claim that 2016 GDP growth will be less than what was recorded in 1994.

Claim 2: No one who has been through the school of hygiene for the past four years has been placed in our health system. I have met many of them and thousands more like him.

Verdict: Entirely True

Explanation: For some years now, graduates of the school of hygiene have been agitating for employment. In recent times the Local Government Workers’ Union (LGWU) of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), has joined the fight to get the school of hygiene graduates employed. In January this year, the LGWU has appealed to the government to extend its employment gesture to graduates of the country’s schools of hygiene. A statement signed by the LGWU General-Secretary, Mr. Joe Boahen, in January this year said:
“It is unfortunate that 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 batches of graduates of the schools of hygiene have not been employed. These graduates have now formed the Concerned Environmental Health Officers Association and have been calling on the authorities to speed up issues on their employment situation.”

On Monday, April 4, 2016, some of the graduates of School of Hygiene picketed at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations over the failure of the government to engage them.

In an apparent response to the pressure from the school of hygiene graduates’ demands, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu, said they would be enrolled on the Youth Employment Programme. He said: “While I work on the clearance from the Ministry of Finance and Local Government, we will absorb the 1, 470 of them under the Youth Employment Agency.”

He said their engagement by the YEA would be temporary and will expire after one year.

About Project

As part of its project to promote issues-based and fact-based campaigning, the MFWA has commenced a project to fact-check claims and allegations being made by key political stakeholders in the electioneering process. The fact-checking project is being implemented with funding support from Germany’s leading media development organisation, DW Akademie.

A dedicated team of experienced journalists and researchers have been engaged and trained for the fact-checking of campaign claims based on a fact-checking Instrument. Fact-checkers also have backup support from international fact-checking experts. Claims are fact-checked by cross-checking claims with existing empirical data from credible and trusted national and international institutions.

Kindly visit www.fact-checkghana.com for more fact-checked reports on other key political actors.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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