Nigeria’s inflation rate rose further to 12.4 per cent in May, no thanks to the spike in the prices of basic food items in recent times.
This was apparently a reflection of the impact of the deadly coronavirus on the global economy.
The latest report on the consumer price index (CPI) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday showed the inflation rate for the month rose by about 0.06 per cent point, from 12.34 per cent attained in April.
The percentage change in the average composite price index for the 12 month cycle ending May over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was about 11.79 per cent, about 0,08 per cent point from 11.71 per cent recorded last month.
During the month, the NBS said food inflation on a year on year basis was highest in Abuja (18.13 %), Osun (17.40%) and Imo (17.13%), while least price increases were recorded in Abia was (13.46%), Bauchi (12.97%) and Kaduna (12.97%).
On monthly basis, food inflation in May was highest in Ebonyi (3,43%), Bayelsa (3.21%), and Edo (2.7%), while Zamfara (0.22%) and Abia (0.21%) experienced the slowest rise in inflation during the period.
The NBS said Akwa Ibom recorded deflation or negative inflation, which generally reflect a decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate for the month.
With the coronavirus pandemic still hindering a full reopening of the economy, particularly the movement oe people, farming activities are yet to recover from the impact of the nationwide lockdown, which adversely affected food producers by denying them access to the farms.
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The impact of the disruption in farming and other agricultural activities are easily predictable with the current high price of food items in the market.
With few farm produce managing to find their way to the market place, the overwhelming number of anxious families chasing the small quantity of foodstuff in the market, has driven the prices of foodstuffs and inflation through the roof.
The NBS report acknowledged this reality when it observed that the composite food index price in May 2020 increased by 15.04 per cent on a year-0n-year basis, when compared with about 15.03 per cent last month.
The statistics agency said the rise in the food index, which underlined the spike in inflation in the country for the month, was caused by high prices in bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, oils and fats fruits, fish and meat.
The food sub-index, the NBS noted, increased by 1.42 per cent in May , up by 0.24 per cent points from 1.18 per cent in April.
The average annual rate of change of the sub-index for the 12.month period ending May 2020 over the previous 12 months average stood at 14.33 per cent, 0.11 points from the average annual rate of change recorded in April (14.22 per cent).
The All items less farm produce”, or core inflation rate, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural proceed stood that 10.12 per cent in May 2020, up by 0.14 per cent when compared with 9.98 per cent recorded last month.
On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index, the NBS noted, increased by 0.88 per cent in May 2020, down by 0.05 per cent when compared with 0.93 per cent recorded in April 2020.
The highest increases in prices during the period under review were those of pharmaceutical products, medical services, repair of furniture, hospital services, passenger transportation by road, motor car, bicycle, maintenance and repairs of personal transport equipment, passenger transportation by sea and inland water ways, paramedical services, motorcycles and hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishment.
A visit to Grand Square Bakery in Gwarimpa and the Supermarket in the Central Business District in Abuja on Wednesday showed the normal 90 grammes family size sliced loaf, which used to sell for N350 before the lockdown in March, now goes for N500 at the bakery and between N600 and N650 at supermarkets around the Federal Capital Territory.
The situation is not different at the NEXT Cash and Carry shopping Mall where their family sized Next Bread, which used to go for N300 now attracts a new price of N450.
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