Nigerian Inflation Analysis & Food Prices

April 15, 2023

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose to 22.04 per cent in March from 21.91 per cent in the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday.

The statistics office said the March inflation rate showed an increase of 0.13 per cent points when compared to February 2023 headline inflation rate.

According to the latest inflation report, the food inflation rate quickened to 24.46 per cent in March from 24.35 per cent in the previous month

Inflation has remained high in Africa’s largest economy, prompting the apex bank to hike interest rates to their highest level in nearly two decades.

In recent months, Nigerians have faced an unprecedented cash crunch as a result of the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Earlier in March, the Supreme Court ruled that the CBN must extend the use of old banknotes until 31 December due to the negative impact of the policy.

In an aggressive push to contain the nation’s inflationary pressure, the Central Bank of Nigeria in March raised its benchmark lending rate to 18 per cent.

Elevated inflation rate, slow economic growth and high unemployment rate are some of the challenges facing Africa’s biggest economy as a new president prepares to assume power in May.

In its inflation report Saturday, the NBS said the headline inflation rate was 6.13 per cent points higher this March compared to the rate recorded in March 2022, which was 15.92 per cent.

“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),” the NBS said.

The report noted that the contributions of items on the divisional level to the increase in the headline index are food & non-alcoholic beverages (11.42 per cent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuel (3.69 per cent), clothing & footwear (1.69 per cent), transport (1.43 per cent), furnishings, household equipment and maintenance (1.11 per cent), among others.

However, it said on a month-on-month basis, the All-Items Index was 1.86 per cent, which was 0.15 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in February 2023 (1.71 per cent).

“This means that in March 2023, on average, the general price level was 0.15 per cent 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 per cent, showing a 3.83 per cent increase compared to 16.54 per cent recorded in March 2022,” the report said.

Food Inflation

The food inflation rate in March 2023 was 24.45 per cent on a year-on-year basis; which was 7.25 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2022 (17.20 per cent).

The bureau said the rise in food on- year on year basis was caused by increases in prices of oil and fat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruits, meat, vegetables, and spirits.

“On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in March 2023 was 2.07 per cent, this was 0.16 per cent higher compared to the rate recorded in February 2023 (1.90 per cent).