By Bashir Olanrewaju
Nigeria’s annual inflation rose 14.23 percent in October, maintaining its upward trend for the 14th month amid pressure from surging food prices, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
It was an 1.54 percent increase from 13.71 percent recorded in September. Food inflation, which has proved a key driver of prices over the months, jumped to 17.38 percent in October from the 16.66 percent recorded in September.
“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in the prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers,” the statistics bureau said in its October consumer price index report released in Abuja on Monday. Other items with increased prices include meat, fish, fruits vegetables, alcholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as cooling oil and fats.
With October’s numbers, Nigeria is now going five years without meeting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s targeted band of between 6-9 percent.
Escalating violence, including sectarian attacks as well as banditry in the country’s major food producing areas, have affected both output and distribution. This is a factor leading to increased shortages and gigher prices.
The global outbreak of the coronavirus has led to a sharp decline in demand for crude oil, Nigeria’s leading export, as businesses and offices shuttered in its wake. This has led to foreign-exchange shortages, with more naira chasing fewer dollars, leading to its depreciation and additional inflationary pressures.
The central bank’s monetary policy committee will likely have an eye on these numbers next week, when it meets to decide on the Monetary Policy Rate. At the last meeting in September, the benchmark rate was cut to 11.5 percent from the previous 12.5 percent as the committee ignored rising inflation in favour of making funds more cheaply available to boost production.