Nigeria’s untamed inflation rates have become persistent nightmares for the citizens.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s reign has been hellish for the masses in the last six months as hardship, Naira depreciation, and insecurity have put the nation on a precipice.
Like other inflation rates in the last twelve months, December’s inflation increased to 28.92 per cent from 28.20 per cent in November, the highest in 27 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The country’s food inflation, which accounts for the bulk of Nigeria’s inflation basket, rose to 33.93 per cent in December from 32.84 per cent a month earlier.
The direct implication is the rising cost of living for Nigerians as more people’s purchasing power shrinks.
Despite this, President Bola Ahmed has consistently told Nigerians to press on and be patient. But, Nigerians have queried how long the waiting game will last.
While the President begged Nigerians for the patient, a mudu of rice has moved to N1,900 from N1,500, beans (red) to N1,300 from N800, 1.4-litre of groundnut oil to N3,200 from N2500, a loaf of bread N1200 from N700, egg to N3,200 from N2,700 for a crate, garri (eed) N800 from N500 a mudu.
Umar Nasiru, a 46-year-old family man in Abuja, said “President Tinubu’s ‘Patient’ will not take care of more than a 100 per cent hike in food items, accommodation, clothing, education fees, and other prices which have all hit the rooftop.”
“Enough of the political rhetoric of ‘I will do this, I will do that.’ Nigerians are dying of hunger daily; we need food prices to come down”, he stated.
According to the World Bank, in the five months of 2023, accelerating inflation pushed 24 million Nigerians into poverty.
The bank’s latest Nigeria Development Update report for December 2023 disclosed that: “Sluggish growth and rising inflation have increased poverty from 40 per cent in 2018 to 46 per cent in 2023, pushing an additional 24 million people below the national poverty line.”
In 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Multidimensional Poverty Index, MPI, said 63 per cent of persons living in Nigeria (133 million people) are multidimensionally poor.
The National MPI is 0.257, indicating that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, the country’s apex bank, in its last monetary policy committee meeting in July 2023, raised interest rates to 18.75 per cent to stymie inflation.
Similarly, the CBN lifted restrictions on 43 items in October to reduce the pressure on the foreign exchange market.
Tinubu, in December last year, listed the provision of N25,000 monthly for three months to 15 million Nigerians and tax waivers as solutions to the citizens’ economic hardship.
In spite of the government’s policies to address the hardship Nigerians face, the challenges have remained unchanged.
Since June last year when the Tinubu administration introduced fuel subsidy removal and floated the Naira, the majority of Nigerians are yet to have a reprieve.
This is as the country’s total debt stock jumped to N87.91 trillion ($114.35 billion) in September 2023, according to the Debt Management Office.
Meanwhile, while Nigerians languished in economic hardship, the twin policies of fuel subsidy removal and naira devaluation have raked in more revenue for the government.
Revenue accruing to the federation account increased in the last half of 2023 due to the fuel subsidy removal.
SOURCE: DAILY POST NEWSPAPER