Nigeria’s inflation surges to 34 months high

Nigeria’s inflation rate has soared to a 34-month high, rising to 17.33% in February from 16.47% in January 2021, the latest figures were published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown.

The report published on the website of the bureau shows that food inflation had risen to 21.79% in February from 20.57% in January, while core inflation jumped to 12.38% in February from 11.85% in the previous month.

The latest spike marks the inflation rise for the 18th month consecutively.

“The food index rise was caused by increases in prices of bread, cereals, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, meat, food products, fruits, vegetable, fish and oils and fats”, the report said.

The rise in food prices rose last month due to the northern traders suspending their deliveries to the popular parts of southern Nigeria as a means to protest the alleged killings and harassment of their kinsmen. The blockade has been lifted ever since.

Ever since the land borders had been shut, inflation had been on a steady rise.

The situation became worse due to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the global economy. The borders were opened in December 2020 more than a year after closing its land frontiers to crack down on smuggling.

The economy is yet to recover from the impacts of coronavirus and the plunge in crude prices even though it unexpectedly exited recession in February.

The inflation figures are as unflattering for the Nigerian Government as were the latest unemployment figures published by NBS on Monday.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 33.3 percent in the three months through December, up from 27.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the last period the agency released labour-force statistics.

Cheta Nwanze, a managing partner at SBM Intelligence, a Lagos-based research firm, said the unemployment figures were a time bomb for Nigeria.

“A country with 23 million unemployed people will pay a heavy price in economic and social costs,” Nwanze said. “These costs include lost tax revenue, drops in consumption, spending and investment, social unrest, and crime rate spikes, among other issues.”