By Bimbola Oyesola, Isaac Anumihe, (Abuja), Chinyere Anyanwu, Adewale Sanyaolu and Merit Ibe
Nigerians yesterday reacted on the rising consumer price index (CPI) which rose for the umpteenth time to 17.33 per cent in February 2021 from 16.47 per cent in January 2021.
Their response came as the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the food sub-index rose by 1.89 per cent in February 2021, up by 0.06 per cent points from 1.83 per cent recorded in January 2021—- month on month.
In the report, increases were recorded in all Classifications of Individual Consumption According to Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.
Meanwhile, Imo State has recorded the highest rate of unemployment with 56.64 per cent across the nation followed by Adamawa with 54.89 per cent and Cross River State with 53.65 per cent.
Meanwhile, Financial experts on Tuesday said the February inflation figure of 17.33 per cent was inevitable due to drop in agriculture production and price hikes in electricity and petroleum.
Professor of Economics, Sheriffdeen Tella, of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, said that the inflationary trend was expected because production in agricultural sector was falling. Also, analysts at Cordros Research, said that the figure reflected the effects of persistent conflict between farmers and herdsmen, particularly in the Northern region of the country.
Commenting on the 17.33 per cent February inflation, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane, said the reported number is not a pleasant picture for the economy but was expected.
He said the current inflation figure is higher than the tolerance level because it has exceeded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) target of six to nine per cent, adding that any figure above 12 per cent is growth retarding.
Rewane added that the country needs more investment to crash the high inflation figure, saying that when people invest, they create jobs and help deal with unemployment.
Also reacting Director General of LCCI, Muda Yusuf noted that even the CBN had admitted that the potency of monetary policy instruments in tackling inflation is weak.
“Mounting inflationary pressures weakens purchasing power of citizens as real incomes are eroded, it accentuates pressure on production costs, it negatively impacts profitability, and undermines investors confidence.