The National Bureau of Statistics has said that Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose to 18.725 per cent in January from 18.55 per cent in December.
According to the NBS, the rise from 18.55 per cent in December, its highest in more than 11 years, was driven by surges in food, transport and electricity.
A separate food index also rose to 17.82 per cent from 17.39 per cent in December, the statistics office said.
The galloping inflation comes as the economy grapples with its first recession in 25 years, largely caused by the fall in global oil prices since 2014. Crude oil sales account for 70 per cent of government revenue.
The situation that has seen prices of goods rise with over 100 per cent, has triggered several demands by critics, which they believe would reflate the economy that officially slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016 and dipped further at the end of the third quarter.
However, in December, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a record of N7.298 trillion ($23.97 billion) budget for 2017, aimed at stimulating growth and pulling the economy out of recession. Economists have questioned whether those goals can be reached.
The soaring cost of living in Nigeria, where the United Nations estimates that 70 per cent of the population live on a dollar a day, has prompted widespread anger at Buhari’s handling of the economy.
A former Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor, Dr. Mailafia Obadia said the Naira will continue to plunge further until Nigeria is bold in economic policies, infrastructure development and monitoring.
He pointed out that “Nigeria’s fall in grace started from the railway collapse”. The sector is barely surviving, with poor infrastructure bedeviling it.
Dr. Mailafia made the demand for more drastic economic policies and reshuffle of the cabinet at the public hearing of the 2017 Budget, the first of its kind organised by the National Assembly recently.