Inflation Rate Romances 22% On The Heels of Prolonged Energy Crisis

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Nigeria’s inflation figure is approaching 21.82 per cent, a level not seen in about two decades, on the heels of the prolonged fuel crisis. The inflation rate is 6.22 percentage points higher compared to a year earlier when it was 15.6 per cent.

According to the January Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday, the composite food index also rose to 24.32 per cent year-on-year (y/y), which is also the highest in decades.

Core inflation, which is the segment stripped of volatile items such as food and energy, was 19.16 per cent. The figure is 0.66 percentage points higher than the December index.

Month-on-month (m/m) change, which tracks the current strength of inflationary pressure, was 1.87 per cent – also the highest in decades. The monthly change points to rising inflationary pressure despite the aggressive interest rate hike to stem the growth.

The urban inflation was 22.55 per cent, while that of the rural area was 21.13 per cent. The sharp difference between the two segments and the elevated m/m change in the former (1.95 per cent) underpins the role of transportation of especially food items in the worrisome price growth.

As the inflation rate continues to trend up, economists said the government is not taking any deliberate steps to tame the menace.

Professor Godwin Oyedokun, a council member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), said he never believed that the inflation rate would come down, given that there is no deliberate policy by the government to control it.

He said the fundamentals driving inflation are far from the money supply, blaming much of it on import dependence.

“In December, when it came down, I said it cannot last because the policy direction of government is not addressing the fundamental issue, which is increasing local production. Until we do that, the inflation rate will continue to rise,” he said.

He also said that some people in government may be manipulating the system to favour them.