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Food prices remain high despite drop in inflation rate to 17.93%

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THE Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday revealed that food prices in Nigeria remained unaffordable despite a drop in the country’s inflation rate to 17.93 per cent.

The inflation statistics released by the NBS showed that the rate dropped from 18.12 per cent in April to the present rate of 17.93 in May, representing a decrease of o.19 per cent.

But the composite food index rose to 22.28 per cent in May 2021, compared with 22.72 per cent in April 2021. This means that food is still expensive and unaffordable by the majority of Nigeria’s population. Poverty rate in Nigeria is between 45 and 50 per cent, according to several reports.

The World Bank said the country’s surging inflation and rising prices had pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.

In its Nigeria Development Update (NDU) released on Tuesday, the World Bank noted that Nigeria’s economic growth was being hindered by food inflation, heightened insecurity, unemployment, and stalled reforms.

According to the update, persistent inflationary pressure was mainly driven by accelerating food prices, while the nation’s inflation rate rose steadily throughout 2020 and reached a four-year high in March 2021.

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The headline index increased by 1.01 per cent in May 2021 on a month-on-month basis. This represents a 0.04 percentage point higher than the rate recorded in April 2021 (0.97 per cent).

FOOD INDEX

The composite food index rose to 22.28 per cent in May 2021 compared to 22.72 per cent in April 2021. 

This rise in the food index resulted from the increase in prices of bread, cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, soft drinks, coffee, tea and cocoa, fruits, meat, oils and fats, and vegetables.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.05 per cent in May 2021, up by 0.06 percent points, from 0.99 per cent recorded in April 2021.

The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12 months ending May 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 19.18 per cent, 0.60 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in April 2021 (18.58) per cent.

CORE INFLATION

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The core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, stood at 13.15 per cent in May 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.24 per cent in May 2021. This was up by 0.25 per cent when compared with 0.99 percent recorded in April 2021.

The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing as well as carpet and other floor covering.

STATE PROFILES

All Items Inflation

All items inflation on year-on-year basis, in May 2021, was highest in Kogi (25.13per cent), Bauchi (23.02 per cent), and Sokoto (20.11 per cent). Katsina (15.69 per cent), Imo (15.52 per cent) and Delta (14.85 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in headline year-on-year inflation. On month-on-month basis, however, in the same month, all items inflation was highest in Kogi (2.22 per cent), Ogun (2.17 per cent) and Cross River (2.07 per cent), while Ekiti (0.02 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in headline month-on-month, with River and Sokoto recording price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate).

Food Inflation

Food inflation on year-on-year basis, in May 2021, was highest in Kogi (32.82 per cent), Kwara (26.02 per cent) and Enugu (25.43 per cent). Akwa Ibom (20.06 per cent), Bauchi (18.65 per cent) and Abuja (16.91 per cent) recorded the slowest rise on year-on-year inflation. 

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On month-on-month basis, however, in the same month, food inflation was highest in Kogi (3.11 per cent), Ogun (2.89 per cent) and Anambra (2.37 per cent), while Edo, Sokoto and Ekiti recorded price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate).

In his June 12 Democracy Day speech last Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration had lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years, but a factcheck by the ICIR showed otherwise as data available punctured the president’s claim.

Not only has the number of people living in extreme poverty swelled within the last two years from 87 million to 105 million, the 67 per cent fall in household incomes has plunged more Nigerian into poverty. These have greatly reduced the purchasing power to below average. 

In addition, economic growth in the last two quarters has not been sustainable enough to lift people out of poverty and the prices of food are not getting cheap  enough as they should be.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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