Inflation rose in March in Nigeria to its highest level in 23 months, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday has shown.
Nigeria’s annual inflation rose for a seventh straight month, as border closures and lockdown of the country occassioned by the coronavirus pandemic pushed prices higher.
The bureau’s Consumer Price Index report said inflation rose to 12.26 per cent when compared with March 2019, and up from 12.20 percent in February 2020.
The closure of land borders in the country in August has been a major driving force for the upward trend of the inflation rate of the country since September 2019.
The closure affected the availability of rice, vegetable oil, frozen food and other staple food of Nigerians, causing prices of the commodities to be on the increase.
The latest spike is also linked to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
“The lockdown in Abuja. Lagos and Ogun States and various major disruptions in normal economic activity in several States since then started in April 2020 and accordingly would not have any major impact on March 2020 Inflation which this report focuses on,” NBS said.
The composite food index rose by 14.98 per cent in March 2020 compared to 14.90 per cent in February 2020.
Inflation In States
In March 2020, all item inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Bauchi, Niger, and Kebbi while Lagos, Abuja, and Kwara recorded the slowest rise.
For food inflation, Sokoto, Edo and Ogun recorded the highest while jigawa, Bauchi and Lagos recorded the lowest.
Only Lagos state recorded price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate).
Paul Alaje, a senior economist with SPM Professionals, said going forward, the present lockdown might bring some level of reduction because the demand is not really there.
“Governemt has done everything possible across board to reduce demand so we might not be seeing that pressure,” he said.
“But that doesnt mean the economy has improved; what is done now across the world is to artificially pause both demand and supply.
“The impact will go beyond what inflation is saying. It will have a major and tremendous impact on the real economy and the evidence will be in unemployment, hunger, economy slum in the coming period,” he said.