Nigeria’s inflation nudges higher to 33.20%

Food prices continue to rise

By Clara Nwachukwu

Nigeria’s headline inflation galloped to a record 33.20% in March, riding on the back of higher food prices occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidies, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday.

Other items that drove the inflation in March were non-alcoholic beverages, energy, housing costs, water, gas, fuel, clothing and footwear, and transport.

Also adding to the pressure on price during the month were furnishings, household equipment and maintenance, education, health, miscellaneous goods and services, restaurants and hotels, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and kola, recreation and culture, and communication.

The NBS Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Inflation Report for March 2024, also showed that this rate was 11.16% higher than the 22.04% recorded on a year-on-year basis.

However, on a month-on-month basis, the rate of rise was 0.10% lower at 3.02% than recorded in February at 3.12%.

“This means that in March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024,” the report said.

Food inflation

Specifically, food inflation further reached a record 40.01% year-on-year in March 2024, a 15.56% jump from the 24.45% in the corresponding period of 2023. 

“The rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis is caused by increases in prices of garri, millet, akpu (uncooked fermented, which are under bread and cereals class), yam tuber, and water yam.

“Others are dried fish sardine, mudfish dried, palm oil, vegetable oil, beef feet, beef head, liver, coconut, watermelon, Lipton Tea, Bournvita, and Milo,” the Bureau explained.

Again, on a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in March was 3.62%, or 0.17% lower compared to February’s rate at 3.79%.

“The fall in food inflation on a month-on-month basis was caused by a decrease in the average prices of Guinea corn flour, plantain flour, etc. (under bread and cereals class), yam, Irish potato, and cocoyam, Titus fish, Mudfish Dried, Lipton, Bournvita, and Ovaltine,” the CPI said.

It added that: “The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending March 2024 over the previous twelve-month average was 31.40%, which was 8.69% points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in March 2023 (22.72%).”

On a year-on-year basis state-wide, food inflation was highest in Kogi at 48.46%, followed by Kwara at 46.18%, and Akwa Ibom at 45.18%. But the rate of rise was slowest in Nasarawa 33.76%, Borno 34.28% and Bauchi 34.38%.

On a month-on-month basis, food inflation was highest in Abia at 5.17%, Cross River at 5.14%, and Bayelsa 4.75%, while Cross River 1.59%, Yobe 2.08% and Adamawa at 2.12%, recorded the slowest rise.

…in March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024.

All items

The report said, on a year-on-year basis, “All items less farm produce and energy’’ or core inflation, excluding the prices of volatile agricultural produce and energy was 25.90% in March.

“This increased by 6.26% compared to 19.63% recorded in March 2023. The exclusion of the PMS is due to the deregulation of the commodity by removal of subsidy.”

The highest increases were recorded bus fares within the city, actual and imputed rentals for housing, consultation fees of a medical doctor, etc.

On a year-on-year basis, the rural inflation rate was 31.45% or 10.37% higher than the 21.09% recorded in March 2023.

“On a month-on-month basis, the rural inflation rate was 2.87 per cent, which decreased by 0.20 per cent compared to February 2024 at 3.07 per cent,” it said.

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