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Food prices on the increase despite inflation dropping to 16.63% in September – Internatinal Centre For Investigative Reporting

THE Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday revealed that inflation rate, which measures the price of goods and services in the country, dropped to 16.63 per cent in September.
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 16.63 per cent in September, from 17.01 per cent in August. This represents a 0.38 per cent points drop from the previous month.

This new inflation rate does not seem to reflect the true situation of things in the market as many Nigerians still cannot afford to buy food and other commodities.
For instance, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the price of sachet water increased by almost 100 per cent, from N150 to about N250/N300 per bag within the last one month.
Surprisingly, food inflation, which is a closely watched index, dropped to 19.57 per cent in September, from 20.3 per cent in August.
Meanwhile, the urban Inflation rate dropped to 17.19 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2021, from 17.59 per cent recorded in August 2021, while the rural inflation rate also dropped to 16.08 per cent in September 2021 from 16.45 per cent in August 2021.
In terms of non-farm produce, the highest increases were recorded in prices of gas, household textile, garments, motor car, game of chance, and major household appliances whether electric or not.
Others with high increases were: passenger transport by air, hospital services, wine, clothing materials, other articles of clothing and clothing accessories, and non-durable household goods, among others.
The World Bank in June had said  Nigeria’s surging inflation and rising prices had pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
In its Nigeria Development Update (NDU) report, the World Bank noted that Nigeria’s economic growth was being hindered by food inflation, heightened insecurity, unemployment, and stalled reforms.
According to the update, persistent inflationary pressure was mainly driven by accelerating food prices.
The nation’s inflation rate rose steadily throughout 2020 and reached a four-year high in March 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently blamed middlemen for the hike in the prices of food items.
Buhari said middlemen were responsible for food shortages, during his nationwide address to mark Nigeria’s 61st Independence anniversary.
The president said middlemen had created ‘artificial shortages’ through the hoarding of essential commodities for profiteering.
“Unfortunately, as our food production capacity has increased, food prices have been going up due to artificial shortages created by middlemen who have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering,” the President said.
FOOD INDEX
The composite food index was 19.57 per cent in September 2021 as against 20.30 percent in August 2021.
This food index increases were caused by rise in prices of oils and fats, bread and cereals, food product, fish, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes, yam and other tuber and milk, cheese, and egg.
On a monthly basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.26 per cent in September 2021, up by 0.20 per cent point, from 1.06 percent recorded in August 2021.
The average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending September 2021 over the previous 12-month average was 20.71 per cent, 0.21 per cent point from the average annual rate of change recorded in August 2021 (20.50) per cent
STATE PROFILES
Inflation was highest in Kogi-20.82 per cent; Gombe-19.09 per cent; Oyo-19.07 per cent; Yobe-14.96 per cent; Edo- 14.85 per cent, and Kwara- 13.70 per cent.
However, in September, Ebonyi- 3.42 per cent; Kano- 2.41 per cent, and Rivers- 1.88 per cent recorded the slowest rise, with Zamfara, Benue, and Cross River recording price deflation
For food inflation, the price of food was highest in Kogi- 26.63 per cent; Oyo- 22.40 per cent, and Gombe- 22.16 per cent, while Bauchi- 16.35 per cent; Yobe- 16.33 per cent and Rivers- 15.97 per cent recorded the slowest rise in year-on-year food inflation.
On month-on-month basis, however, September 2021 food inflation was highest in Kaduna- 2.22 per cent; Kano- 2.17 per cent, and Anambra- 2.15 per cent, while Benue-0.23 per cent and Kebbi- 0.09 per cent recorded the slowest rise, with Zamfara recording price deflation.
Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
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