Stop making ‘easily verifiable’ facts topics on TV & Radio debates – Gabby attacks NewsFile team, others

Influential cousin of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is also the founder of Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has lashed out at Multimedia’s current affairs show, Newsfile.

This comes after it was suggested that the government of Ghana has shared different macroeconomic data with Ghanaians and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Following the public debate, crosschecked the data submitted to the IMF by the authorities and what has been previously shared with Ghanaians and published by the Ministry of Finance. Based on the figures, they concluded that indeed, the data presented by the government to the IMF are different from those in budget statements.

The fact-checking team found disparities between the data published in the statement of the IMF and data from the Budget Statements of 2019 and 2020 that the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, presented to Parliament. The disparities are mainly with the following 2018 and 2019 indicators.

The ministry of finance later explained the discrepancies, that the first inaccuracy in the said publication was taking from the January to September figures, that is the third quarter figures reported in our budget statements and comparing them with the full year figures reported by the IMF.

And secondly, the fiscal deficit and primary balance reported in the publication are provisional end-September data quoted from the 2019 and 2020 Budget Statements. It was wrong to compare them with the full year figures reported by the IMF and come to the erroneous conclusion that Government had misrepresented information on the economy.

Following the tabling of the topic on NewsFile, Gabby believes it was needless as it is not a matter of debate but can be factually verified.

“I’ve seen that a topic on Newsfile today is about whether or not economics data to IMF was massaged. I think on some of these things journalists can go a step further to do their own research and spare us all the time of turning easily verifiable issues on facts and figures into an entire debate.” He wrote.

“Are we comparing provisional figures to actual figures (since annual budgets read in November only capture up to third quarter)? Are the figures including or excluding extraordinary spending items such as financial sector bailout? Are any differences or supposed discrepancies acknowledged in footnotes?” He asked.

“These are some of the facts/checking things that we can do to not drag matters.” He advised.


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