DIFFICULT times are not over for Nigerians as inflation figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the month of May showed a rise to 17.7 per cent, from 16.82 per cent recorded in April.
Nigerians have been paying more for food, transportation and other items since a mix of worsening foreign exchange regime, rising lending rate, insecurity and high cost of energy prices began driving prices higher in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the NBS, the inflation rate accelerated in May, for the fourth consecutive month.
In the Statistics Bureau report for May 2022, the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that headline inflation increased on a month-on-month basis by 0.02 per cent, from 1.76 per cent in April to 1.78 per cent in May 2022.
According to the NBS report, “The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending May 2022 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period is 16.45 per cent, showing a 0.95 per cent increase, compared to the 15.50 per cent recorded in May 2021,”
Further analysis showed that food inflation, which comprised more than 50 per cent of the inflation rate, also rose to 19.50 per cent, highest in eight months, compared to 18.37 per cent in the previous month.
“On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased to 2.01per cent in May 2022, up by 0.01 per cent from 2.00 per cent recorded in April 2022,” the report stated.
The rise in the food index was put down to increases in prices of bread and cereals, food products, potatoes, yam and other tubers, wine, fish, meat, and oils.
The urban inflation rate increased to 18.24 per cent (year-on-year), which is a 0.27 per cent decline, compared to 18.51 per cent recorded in May 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the urban inflation rate rose to 1.81 per cent in May 2022, a 0.03 per cent increase, compared to April 2022 (1.78).
Also, rural inflation rate increased to 17.21 per cent in May 2022 (year-on-year) basis, which is a 0.15 per cent decline compared to 17.36 recorded in May 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the rural index rose to 1.76 per cent in May 2022, up by 0.02 per cent from the rate recorded in April 2022 (1.74).
Analysts see insecurity and politics as some of the factors hindering government’s attention to the inflation problem.
“The incoming President should deal with insecurity first. It is taking its toll on Nigeria’s food security drive. That should be the first foundation before we begin to restore investor- confidence and prune the rising inflation,” the president of the Association of Business Development Professionals in Nigeria, Franklyn Akinyosoye, told THE ICIR.
To an Associate Consultant to the British Department for International Development (DFID), Celestine Okeke, the current figures had exposed the reality of how politics was negatively affecting governance.
“We are already in election mood. The inflation surge is expected. Ministers and governors are concentrating on politicking, to the detriment of governance,” Okeke said.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.