BY FESTUS OKOROMADU
Nigerians from various walks of life have continued to express concerns over the rising inflation rate in the country even as experts offer solutions to overcome the challenge. Latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics put the January inflation rate of Nigeria at 21.82 percent up from 21.34 percent in December 2022.
Mrs. Hellen Uzoamaka, a business woman and housewife in a chat with our correspondent in Abuja said managing the home front has become a very challenging task as the prices of goods and services are no longer stable. “Prices of goods including food stuff and household items are changing every day. An item you purchased last week, you can be sure if you go back today the price is not the same. It definitely has risen. “Most times manufacturers and producers blame it on rising cost of fuel and production.
“The implication of this to me as a housewife is that it is becoming more difficult to manage the home front. My husband is a civil servant because his salary is fixed and the house upkeep allowance is also fixed. Unfortunately, the market doesn’t understand all this. We’re left with a difficult situation to handle,” she said.
She called for government intervention to help by providing a conducive environment for companies operating in the country as well as the introduction of a price control unit. Jerry Enuwa, is an entrepreneur who owns a bakery and a pure water factory in the Zuba area of Abuja blamed the rise in prices of raw materials and energy for the inflation.
“Seriously, we’re all affected by the inflation crisis. As an entrepreneur, we’re just trying to hold on because the challenges are numerous. “Imagine since December last year the cost of petrol used for the distribution of our products.
We’ve been finding it very difficult to survive. The fact remains that you can’t even pass the whole cost to the consumers.” Speaking on how to tackle the challenge, Ene Abule, an Abujabased financial expert said the government needs to address food insecurities as a priority. “The Federal Government should address food insecurity by building more strategic grain reserves and fixing the moribund ones in the country.
“This will ensure that more food produced will be absorbed into our national silos in order to ensure food self-sufficiency,” he said. Ene noted that the Federal Government should enhance the security situation in many farming communities.
“Addressing many of the communal crises is imperative to encourage more people to return to farms. “This will improve our food output and resolve the fooddriven inflation,” he said. Also speaking, Uju Ogubunka, former Executive Secretary, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, said that dealing with the headwinds impeding production would curb inflation.
“Issues such as uninterrupted electricity supply should be made more available for local manufacturers to ensure they operate at optimal level. “This will enable them to produce substituted imported commodities and enhance their domestic capacity in the process,” Ogubunka said. He said that the Federal Government should put an end to the unavailability of refined petroleum products because it was responsible for the inflationary rise.
“The sudden increase in the price of petrol and its associated product is driving the cost of transportation in recent times which is passed down to the final consumer through increases of goods and services,” Ogubunka said.
Mark Osawe, a banker and financial expert opined that the Central Bank of Nigeria has a critical role to play in this regard. “The current multiple foreign exchange rates operated in Nigeria are quite detrimental to genuine businesses. “The multiple windows give room for arbitrage in the market and deprive businesses the ability to access the foreign exchange genuinely,” he said. Osawe emphasized that the apex bank ways and means advances in the economy contributed to the increase in inflation rate.
“About N20 trillion has been injected to fund the Federal Government deficit finances over the years and this is detrimental to the economy because the apex bank has surpassed its expected threshold,” he stated.