Nigeria’s inflation rate rose from 20.77% in September 2022 to 21.09% in October 2022 amid soaring food prices, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
The Bureau also said that food Inflation was 23.72% in October 2022, from 23.34% in September 2022.
The NBS made this known in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for October 2022 released on Tuesday.
The CPI measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services.
“On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate for October 2022 was 1.24 percent, this was 0.11 percent lower than the rate recorded in September 2022 (1.36 percent). This means that in October 2022 the general price level for the headline inflation rate (month–on–month basis) declined by 0.11 percent,” the report in part.
“The percentage change in the average CPI for the twelve months ending October 2022 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 17.86 percent, showing a 0.91 percent increase compared to the 16.96 percent recorded in October 2021.”
The NBS blamed the rising inflate rate on importation cost, high energy cost, surging food prics amongst others.
“On a year-on-year basis, in October 2022, the urban inflation rate was 21.63 percent, 5.11 percent higher compared to the 16.52 percent recorded in October 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the urban inflation rate was 1.33 percent in October 2022, this was a 0.12 percent decline compared to September 2022 (1.46%).”
World food prices have fallen for a sixth month in a row in September, UN data showed Friday, as they continued to decline since a record reached following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Food and Agriculture Organization said its price index, which tracks the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 136.3 points in September, a 1.1 percent drop from August.
The index, however, was 5.5 percent higher than in September 2021.
The monthly decline was driven by a “sharp fall” in the prices of vegetable oils, the United Nations agency said.
There were also moderate decreases in the prices of sugar, meat and dairy products.
The declines more than offset a rebound in cereal prices.
The FAO said wheat prices jumped due to “heightened uncertainty” about the continuation beyond November of a UN-brokered deal that has allowed Ukraine to ship its grains via the Black Sea.
The deal lifted a Russian blockade that has raised fears of triggering a famine in nations reliant on grains from Ukraine, one of the world’s breadbaskets. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Dry conditions in Argentina and the United States have also contributed to the increase in global cereal prices.
The FAO lowered its world cereal production forecast for this year again, with a decline of 1.7 percent expected.
The agency said 45 countries, including 33 in Africa, nine in Asia, two in Latin America and the Caribbean, and one in Europe “are in need of external assistance for food”.
The UN warned in September that more than one million people are at risk of famine and death without humanitarian aid.
In one supermarket in the Tunisian capital, the shelves were bare of flour or semolina, and only three packs of sugar sat on a shelf near a sign that read: “One kilo per customer, please”.
Store managers said the problem was “panic buying”, not shortages.
Shopper Houda Hjeij, who said she hadn’t been able to find rice or flour for two weeks, blamed the authorities.
“With the war in Ukraine, they did not think ahead,” the 52-year-old housewife in Tunis said.
Bulk-buying ahead of Ramadan, which is expected to start in early April this year, is common in Muslim countries.
But some say the war in Ukraine has sparked a shopping frenzy.
– Fear of war –
Hedi Baccour, of Tunisia’s union of supermarket owners, said daily sales of semolina — a staple across North Africa used in dishes of couscous — have jumped by “700 percent” in recent days.
Sugar sales are up threefold as Tunisians stockpile basic foodstuffs, said Baccour, who insisted there were no food shortages.
Each day pensioner Hedi Bouallegue, 66, makes the round of grocery shops in his Tunis neighbourhood to stock up on products like cooking oil and semolina.
“I am even ready to pay double the price,” he told AFP.
Baker Slim Talbi said he had been paying three times as much for flour than in the past, “although the real effects of the (Russia-Ukraine) war have not hit us yet”.
“I am worried” about the future, Talbi added, citing Tunisia’s dependence on Ukrainian wheat.
Tunisia imports almost half of the soft wheat used to make bread from Ukraine. Authorities say the North African country has enough supplies to last three months.
Oil-rich Libya gets about 75 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. Morocco also relies heavily on the same source for supplies.
Algeria — Africa’s second-largest wheat consumer after Egypt — does not import any from the two warring eastern European countries, instead sourcing it from Argentina or France, according to the bureau of cereals.
“There won’t be any shortages — wheat shipments regularly arrive at Algiers port,” said harbour official Mustapha, who declined to give his full name.
“War in Ukraine and all the semolina warehouses have been stormed,” Mouh Benameur, who lives in the area, posted on Facebook.
– Recession, pandemic, recovery –
Food prices were on the rise in North Africa before Russia invaded Ukraine more than two weeks ago.
Moroccan official Fouzi Lekjaa pointed to a global economic pick-up following a pandemic-induced slump.
“With the recovery, the market price of cereals and oil products rose,” he said.
Mourad, 37, a shopper in the Moroccan capital Rabat, said climate change and drought — the worst in his country in decades — were also to blame.
To keep prices affordable and avoid a repeat of bread riots that erupted in the 1980s, Tunisia subsidises staples like sugar, semolina and pasta.
For the past decade, it has set the price of a baguette loaf of bread at six US cents.
Algeria plans to scrap subsidies on basic goods, but has not yet done so.
After a truck drivers’ strike this week, Morocco said it was mulling fuel subsidies for the sector “to protect citizens’ purchasing power and keep prices at a reasonable level,” according to government spokesman Mustapha Baitas.
In Libya, which found itself with two rival prime ministers this month, sparking fears of renewed violence, food prices are also hitting the roof.
At a Tripoli wholesale market, shopper Saleh Mosbah blamed “unscrupulous merchants”.
“They always want to take advantage when there is a conflict,” he said.
Summaya, a shopper in her 30s who declined to give her full name, blamed the government.
“They reassure people by saying there is enough wheat,” she said, carrying two five-kilo (11-pound) bags of flour. “I don’t believe them.”
Nigerian nutritionist Emiolo Ogunsola stands in front of a dozen new mothers in a Lagos public hospital, listing the basic foods they need to keep their children well-nourished: Eggs, vegetables, and beans among them.
Her pitch is abruptly interrupted. For the mothers listening, even those essentials are increasingly beyond their reach.
“Ma, how can you expect us to buy that, everything is so expensive, there is no money to buy all that,” says one young mother with a child cradled in her arms.
Inflation is rising around the world as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, and while Western central bankers say it is only temporary, the soaring prices are having dramatic consequences in countries like Nigeria.
Africa’s most populous nation with 210 million inhabitants, Nigeria competes with India for the largest number of poor in the world.
But battered by the double economic impact of low global oil prices and the pandemic, the World Bank estimates Nigeria’s soaring inflation and food prices pushed another seven million people into poverty in 2020.
Food prices have increased more than 22 percent since the start of the coronavirus crisis, according to official statistics.
For many people feeding the family has become a daily challenge.
“Every day, during a consultation, there are five or seven children that suffer from malnutrition,” says Ogunsola, head of the nutrition department at Massey Street children’s hospital in a district in Lagos Island.
“I bet in a few months or a year, more children will be malnourished.”
Even before the pandemic and the surge in food costs, Nigeria’s nutrition figures were alarming: One in three Nigerian children suffered stunted growth due to a bad diet; one in 10 is wasted.
As a result, close to 17 million children in Nigeria are undernourished, giving the country the highest level of malnutrition in Africa and the second highest in the world.
‘Can’t stand anymore’
Edith Obatuga has six dependents: two of her own as well as four nephews and nieces.
Twenty kilometres (12 miles) from Lagos Island, in Bariga Market, another popular area of Nigeria’s sprawling economic capital, this single mother shops around the stalls, hoping to find an affordable package of spaghetti.
She has already given up on beans, with the price per kilo already up by 60 percent in one year. She also cut portions of rice after a 15 percent rise in prices.
“During the lockdown last year, prices started to go up, and never stopped since. We cannot stand anymore,” says the 43-year-old mother who earns around 50,000 naira or $120 a month selling wood planks.
Obatuga has made adjustments to delay having to cut portions of food from the family meals. First, she left their apartment because she could no longer afford the rent and moved into her late mother’s old house.
“You should come when it’s raining, there is water everywhere, every night we fight mosquitos,” she says.
When her children fall ill, from malaria or typhoid, there is no longer any question of going to the hospital.
“Too expensive,” says the head of the household who now favours traditional remedies: a herbal juice prepared in a plastic container.
Before the pandemic, Nigerians were already spending 60 percent of their income on food, says Tunde Leye, an economist at SBM Intelligence risk consultancy. But inflation has pushed that higher on average.
“You can bet that today on average people spend more than 60 percent, maybe around 70 or 80 percent of their income on food,” the economist says.
“When people spend that much amount on food they cannot do nothing else, paying for a rent, health care, education.”
Indeed, after giving up on the rent for her house, Obatuga has also been forced to give up paying rent on her shop. She now sells her planks outside her house, far from commercial streets, and her turnover has fallen sharply as she drifts into the endless cycle of poverty.
Nigeria’s inflation is not driven by global factors alone. Each year 40 percent of Nigeria’s total food production is lost or wasted, according to the World Bank.
In Africa’s largest oil producer, corruption is endemic, roads are in dire condition, Lagos port is totally congested, and faulty electricity supplies do not allow food to be stored properly, economist Leye says.
Widespread bandit attacks, ethnic clashes, and kidnappings for ransom in rural areas have added to a sense of “creeping insecurity”, which experts say has kept people from working in the fields in many agricultural regions of the country.
In the centre and the northwest, heavily armed criminal gangs terrorise local populations, looting villages, stealing livestock and kidnappings for ransom — even targeting schools and colleges for mass abductions.
Nigeria’s northeast has been at the heart of a deadly conflict between the army and jihadist groups for more than 10 years, forcing more than two million from their homes.
In these regions, the number of severely malnourished children is peaking, and in some areas has almost doubled in one year.
Lagos, the economic heart of the country, is hundreds of kilometres away.
But at traffic lights in the megalopolis, more and more children are from the north, clinging to car windows, their right hand outstretched towards the passenger. And the other brought to their mouths.
Nigeria’s headline inflation dropped for the second consecutive month in May, but the prices of food have continued to surge.
Latest data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday indicates that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in the fifth month of the year 2021.
While this is 0.19 per cent points lower than the 18.12 per cent recorded in April, increases were recorded in all Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.
On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.01 per cent in May, representing higher percentage points of 0.04 than the rate recorded in the previous month (0.97 per cent).
“The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12 months period ending May 2021 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was 15.50 per cent, showing a 0.46 percent point rise from 15.04 per cent recorded in April 2021,” the NBS data titled CPI Report May 2021 read.
Similarly, the urban inflation rate rose to 18.51 percent (year-on-year) in May from 18.68 per cent recorded in April, just as the rural inflation rate stood at 17.36 per cent in May from the 17.57 per cent previously reported.
The urban index rose to 1.04 per cent in May – up by 0.05 per cent points (on a month-on-month basis) – compared to the rate recorded in April (0.99 per cent), while the rural index rose to 0.98 per cent in May – up by 0.03 points – compared to the 0.95 per cent recorded in April.
According to the report, the corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 16.09 per cent in May – higher than the 15.63 per cent reported in April while the corresponding rural inflation rate in May is 14.94 per cent compared to the 14.48 per cent recorded in the previous month.
Food Prices On The Rise
The composite food index, on the other hand, rose by 22.28 per cent in May as against the 22.72 per cent reported in April.
This rise in the food index, the NBS explained, was as a result of increases in prices of bread, cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, soft drinks, coffee, tea and cocoa, fruits, meat, oils and fats, and vegetables.
It disclosed that the food sub-index increased by 1.05 per cent in May from the 0.99 per cent recorded in April, on a month-on-month basis.
“The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the 12-month period ending May 2021 over the previous 12-month average was 19.18 per cent, 0.60 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in April (18.58) per cent,” said the report.
The core inflation, also known as ‘all items less farm produce’, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, stood at 13.15 per cent in May as against the 12.74 per cent recorded in April.
On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.24 per cent in May 2021, up by 0.25 per cent when compared with the 0.99 per cent recorded in the previous month.
According to the NBS, the highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, as well as carpet and other floor coverings.
Others are motor cars, hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing, other services in respect of personal transport equipment, gas, household textile and nondurable household goods.
The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 11.50 per cent for the 12-month period ending in May – representing 0.25 per cent points compared with the 11.25 per cent recorded in April.
Despite Nigeria’s inflation rate downward trend and decline to 15.98 percent from 16.01, food prices have continued to rise.
The National Bureau of Statistics in the Consumer Price Index report relased on Tuesday measures the inflation with the rate dropping year-on-year from 16.01 per cent in August to 15.98 per cent in September.
This is the eighth consecutive decline in inflation since January 2017.
However food prices have continued to rise. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics released today shows that food inflation rose to 20.32 percent, from 20.25 percent in August.
”This was driven by notable increases in bread and cereal, meat, vegetables and other food items. Core inflation increased at a slower pace in September, rising by 12.10 percent, versus 12.30 percent in August.
”The Food Index increased by 20.32 percent (year-on-year) in September, up marginally by 0.07 percent points from the rate recorded in August (20.25 percent).”
The rise in food prices includes increases in prices of potatoes, yams and other tubers, milk cheese and eggs, bread and cereals, coffee tea and cocoa, soft drinks, fish, meat and oil and fats.
”The highest increases were recorded in clothing materials and articles of clothing, solid fuels, garments, passenger transport by air, motorcycles, shoes and other footwear, furniture and furnishing and non-durable household goods.”