25 March 2019

Nigeria: Inflation Rate Not Reflective of Current Economic Situation - Experts

Photo: The Guardian
Nigeria economy.

The current inflation rate of 11.31 percent for February 2019 released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is not reflective of true economic situation in the country, academics have said.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last week released that Nigeria's inflation rate dropped to 11.31% in February 2019 from 11.37% recorded in January 2019.

It also said in its Consumer Price Index (CPI), that the figure was 0.06 per cent lower than what was recorded in January 2019.

The NBS also explained that the change in average composite CPI for the 12 months period ending February 2019 over the average of CPI for the previous 12 months period was 11.56% showing 0.24% point drop from 11.80% recorded in January 2019.

It further notes that the urban inflation rate increased by 11.59% in February 2019 from 11.66% recorded in January 2019, while rural inflation rate increased by 11.05% in February 2019 from 11.11% in January 2019.

However an associate professor of Economics, University of Abuja, Dr Yelwa Mohammed, said the inflation rate is not reflective of the high prices of goods and services in the country. He said the inflation has been reduced to 11.3% but poverty and unemployment were still increasing, so there was no correlation between the position of NBS and what the citizens are facing in real life situations.

Dr Yelwa noted that the NBS is a research-based institution charged with the responsibility to collect data and do analysis or interpretation based on their findings.

He also said that the position of NBS was questionable "but to us in the academics it is not a new thing because we believe it is theoretically inclined."

The bureau is a research institute and they are charged to do such research "but to me their interpretation does not reflect the true situation in the society because many times what they are doing doesn't actually reflect on the citizens."

He called on government to enhance the productive capacity of the economy by assiduously improving the agricultural sector.

"There is no way you can reduce inflation to 11.3% or reduce unemployment without going to the productive sector. Oil is not enough, the manufacturing sector, agricultural sector must be included and all these sectors should be enhanced to produce to optimum capacity in order to eradicate poverty and inflation," he said.

Also speaking another professor from the same department, Dr David Okoroafor, explained that what makes inflation figures are the price of food items majorly and that has not improved in a while.

He also said the figures released did not tally with the reality on ground, stressing that it will be hard to achieve single digit inflation rate except where the figures are given to satisfy some political motive.

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