Isaac Anumihe (Abuja), Adewale Sanyaolu and Merit Ibe
Nigeria’s galloping inflation rate which has been on the upward trajectory since last year, hit an all-time high of 14.23 per cent in October, 2020 (year-on-year) from 13.71 per cent in September, 2020 according to latest figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS which released the country’s latest inflation figures on its website, yesterday, said that the increase of about 0.52 per centage points was higher than the rate recorded in September 2020.
It explained that the increases were recorded in all Classifications of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.
According to the Bureau, the October figure stands as the highest inflation rate recorded by Nigeria over the past four years. This is also coming amid outcry by the citizens that prices of basic food stuffs have risen astronomically high in South west states of Ogun and Lagos due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising transportation cost following recent fuel price hike by the Federal Government.
But reacting to the NBS figures yesterday, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said “Nigeria is digging deeper into poverty because rising inflation means erosion of purchasing power when there is no compensatory adjustment in incomes of households or salaries of workers.
Inflation is a destroyer to many economies and ours is worse because we already have a fragile economic days.
It’s going to increase the misery index, which is unemployment plus high inflation rates. So, we will become more miserable as a people. Businesses will face declining demand as there is no corresponding increase in purchasing power. It might lead to redundancies and all sorts of efforts by the businesses to survive.”
Similarly, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) for its part urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address the supply side variables impacting domestic prices.
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, LCCI, who spoke in reaction to the October 2020 inflation rate, released by the NBS, listed such variables to include transportation costs, logistics challenges and exchange rate depreciation.
Other variables according to him are forex liquidity issues, Value Added Tax increase, climate change, insecurity in farming communities and structural bottlenecks to production.
The LCCI Director- General, said any mitigation measures will have to be situated in the context of these variables. Yusuf added that the potency of monetary policy instruments in tackling inflation has been very weak.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Assets Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the inflation figures released by NBS, did not come as a surprise to economic commentators because it was already projected. He said the high cost of food items occasioned by the dislocation of farmers in the Northern part of the country and the border closure remained key factors that moved inflation figures to an all time high of 14.23 per cent.