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By Emma Njoku
Nigerians are in for more pain and hunger as inflation appears unabated with sharp increase in the prices of major food items across the country.
A report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yesterday, indicated that the inflation rate, which stood at 18.55 percent in December 2016, climbed to 18.72 percent in January 2017.
The NBS report showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased in January by 0.17 percent from the rate recorded in December, just as increases were recorded in all divisions that yield the Headline Index.
Yesterday’s report stated that communication, restaurants and hotels, again, recorded the slowest pace of growth in January, growing at 5.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent (year-on-year), respectively.
“The faster pace of growth in headline inflation, year on year, were bread and cereals; meat, fish, oils and fats; potatoes, yams and other tubers; wine and spirits; clothing materials and accessories.
“Others are electricity, cooking gas, liquid and solid fuels; motor cars and maintenance; vehicle spare parts and fuels; and lubricants for personal transport equipment as well as passenger transport by road,” the report said.
The report also showed that, on a monthly basis, headline inflation was driven by passenger transport by air, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment; liquid fuels, cooking gas, oils and fats; fruits, cheese and eggs; fish, meat and bread; as well as cereals.
The bureau noted that the food index increased by 17.82 per cent (year-on-year) in January, by 0.43 percent from the rate recorded in December, 2016, (17.39 percent).
“During the month, all major food sub-indexes increased, with soft drinks recording the slowest pace of increase at 7.8 per cent(year on year).
“The highest increases were seen in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, with education and transport growing at 27.2, 21.0 and 17.2 per cent, respectively,” NBS said.
The report further showed that on a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased, although at a slower pace last month. It stated that index increased by 1.01 percent point in January, 0.05 percent from 1.06 percent rate recorded in December 2016.
“The urban index rose by 20.31 percent (year-on-year) in January from 20.12 percent recorded in December, and the rural index increased by 17.34 percent in January from 17.20 percent in December.
“On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.03 per cent in January from 1.08 per cent recorded in December, while the rural index rose by 1.00 per cent in January from 1.04 per cent in December.
The bureau said the corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index increased from 17.05 percent, in December, to 17.91 percent in January, while the corresponding rural index also increased from 14.54 percent, in December, to 15.18 percent in January.
According to the NBS, the Composite Food Index rose by 17.82 per cent in January, 2017. It attributed the rise in the index to increase in prices of bread and cereals, meat, fish, oil and fats.
“On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.29 percent in January and reduced by 0.04 percent points from 1.33 percent recorded in December.”
Meanwhile, the “All Items Less Farm Produce” or Core sub-index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce eased by 17.9 percent during the month, 0.20 per cent points from 18.1 percent recorded in December, as all key divisions which contribute to the index increased.
The report further showed that the core sub-index increased by 0.68 percent in January, 0.06 percent points higher from 0.62 percent recorded in December. The highest increases were recorded in electricity, gas, passenger transport by air, liquid fuel and lubricants for personal transport equipment and solid fuels.
“Nigeria’s inflation rate increased from 9.6 percent recorded in December, 2015, to 18.55 percent in December, 2016, as a result of sharp increase in the prices of meat, bread, fish, vegetable, and other products,” the NBS said.