Nigerians are, perhaps, in the toughest time of their existence with a 0.13% rise in inflation in the month of March with the annual inflation rate rising to 22.04% in March from 21.91% in February.
And there appears to be no solution in sight, at least economic experts have not spoken up on a way out, except that common sense dictates that a mass of citizens spend on essentials.
According to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Saturday, the March inflation rate showed an increase of 0.13% points compared to February 2023 headline inflation rate.
The increase comes in the face of tightening monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to check inflation.
According to the latest inflation report, the food inflation rate quickened to 24.46% in March from 24.35% in the previous month
The NBS explained that the headline inflation rate was 6.13% points higher March compared with the corresponding period of 2022 which was 15.92%.
“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in March 2023 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e., March 2022),” it said.
It listed the contributory items to the increase in the headline inflation as food & non-alcoholic beverages (11.42%), housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuel (3.69%), clothing & footwear (1.69%), transport (1.43%), furnishings, household equipment and maintenance (1.11%), among others.
On a month-on-month basis, the All-Items Index was 1.86% or 0.15% higher than the rate recorded in February (1.71%). “This means that in March 2023, on average, the general price level was 0.15% higher relative to February 2023.
“The percentage change in the average CPI for the twelve months ending March 2023 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 20.37%, showing a 3.83% increase compared to 16.54% recorded in March 2022,” the report said.
The report put food inflation rate in March 2023 at 24.45% on a year-on-year basis; which was 7.25% points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2022 (17.20%).
The Bureau attributed the rise in food inflation to increases in the prices of oil and fat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruits, meat, vegetables, and spirits.
The report continued: “On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in March 2023 was 2.07%, this was 0.16% higher compared to the rate recorded in February 2023 (1.90%).
“The average annual rate of food inflation for the twelve months ending March 2023 over the previous twelve months’ average was 22.72%, which was a 3.50% points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in March 2022 (19.21%),” it said.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Core inflation rate was 1.84 per cent in March 2023, up by 0.78% from 1.06% in February 2023.
“The average twelve months’ annual inflation rate was 17.41% for the twelve months ending March 2023; this was 3.85% points higher than the 13.56% recorded in March 2022.”