The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation rate, with the index rising by 0.24 percentage points year on year from 11.61 per cent in October to 11.85 per cent in November. The November inflation rate of 11.85 per cent is the highest recorded by the country in the last 19 months.
The last time the country’s inflation was as high 11.85 per cent was in April 2018 when inflation rate was put at 12.48 per cent. The rise in inflation rate, according to experts, may be connected to the ongoing border closure which had made it difficult for products to be exported and imported into the country through the land borders.
The NBS report reads in part, “The CPI, which measures inflation, increased by 11.85 per cent year-on-year in November 2019.
“This is 0.24 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in October 2019 (11.61 per cent),” the bureau said.
The NBS report stated that the urban inflation rate increased by 12.47 per cent year-on-year in November from 12.2 per cent recorded in October, while the rural inflation rate increased by 11.30 per cent in November from 11.07 per cent in October. On the food index, the NBS report said food inflation rose by 14.48 per cent in November compared to 14.09 per cent in October.
The report attributed the rise in food index to increases in prices of bread, cereals, oils and fats, meat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, and fish. On a month-on-month basis, the report said food index increased by 1.25 per cent in November 2019, down by 0.08 per cent points from 1.33 per cent recorded in October.
It said food inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Sokoto (18.77 per cent), Kebbi (18.08 per cent) and Ekiti (17.18 per cent), while Katsina (12.61 per cent), Bayelsa (12.50 per cent) and Bauchi (12.44 per cent) recorded the slowest rise.
Speaking on the rise in inflation rate, an economist, Chijioke Ekechukwu, blamed the development on border closure and the spending for the festive season. Ekechukwu, who is a former Director-General of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “It is obvious the inflation is responding to price rise due to closure of the land borders, the Christmas season, effect of the Finance Bill anticipation and insecurity in the land.”
On what government should do to bring down the rate of inflation, he said there was a need for more support for farmers.
He said, “Government should continue to support the farmers in their various programmes so as to force prices down using competition. Infrastructure facilities such as roads, rail and power should be prioritised.
“Insecurity in Nigeria must be fought head-on. Forces of demand and supply will ultimately force the prices down.”
Also, a professor of economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, Sheriffdeen Tella, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that while border closure had spiked inflation, prices would adjust to their original state.
Tella said despite the rise in inflation rate, the government should not rush go reopen the borders until the strategic objectives behind the closure were achieved. He said, “You will recall that the border was closed by the government and that action will affect the price of other commodities.
“If you look at the data that were released, the increase would likely be from food items followed by manufactured goods.’
He added that an increase in price due to border closure made other prices to also rise. Punch
Pix: Nigeria Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed