Former President John Dramani Mahama

FORMER PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has been caught up in statistical fallacy with claims that Ghana’s food inflation is the highest in the world.

Abusing statistical data to lend false support to his arguments that the current difficulties were as a result of economic mismanagement, he stated that the country’s food inflation was at 122%, despite the government’s flagship agriculture programme, Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ).

He wrote on his Facebook wall that not only was Ghana suffering from triple digit food inflation, it was also grappling with Treasury Bill rates of about 30% as local investors who had bought Ghana’s financial instruments suffered huge risks associated with lending to the government.

“Ghana is on record as having the highest food inflation in the world at 122%, notwithstanding the much-touted but grossly mismanaged Planting for Food and Jobs programme,” he asserted.

Mr. Mahama continued, “We are grappling with Treasury Bill rates of about 30% as local investors in our financial instruments suffer huge risks associated with lending to [the] government.

“We are also experiencing massive reverse capital flows as investors lose what is left of their confidence in our economy and pull out in droves,” he diagnosed.

But it is now certain that his flurry of data-driven memes posted on his Facebook page and sailing on Twitter were bad statistics, making it misleading news.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the overall food inflation stands at 37.8%, with that of water at 58.9%, while egg, milk and other dairy products stands at 49%.

Sugar, confectionery and desserts have an inflation figure of 48%, Cereals and cereal products at 46%, fruit and vegetable juices at 45.2%, fish and other seafood at 44.5%, as well as fruits and nuts at 44.4%.

With data-driven journalism on the rise and calls continue to grow for increased evidence-based “fact checking,” it is now difficult for politicians to make claims, typically wrapped up in mesmerising data, without being exposed.