Nigeria’s September inflation figure shows the effect of border closure

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of September 2019. According to the data released, inflation finally increased to 11.24 percent after three consecutive declines, in August inflation stood at 11.02 percent. 

Food inflation, which is derived from the Food composite index, increased to 13.51 percent from 13.17 percent recorded in August 2019. The rise in the index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Oils and fats, Meat, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Fish and Vegetables. 

The Core inflation or “all items less farm produce” which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 8.94 percent in September 2019, up by 0.26 percent when compared with 8.68 percent recorded in August 2019.  According to the report, the highest increases were recorded in prices of Cleaning, Repair and hire of clothing, Repair of household appliance, Hospital services, Major household appliances, Glassware, tableware and household utensils, Spirits, Clothing materials, other articles of clothing accessories, Garment and Repair and hire of footwear. 

How states fared

At the state level, the highest inflation rates in September 2019 were recorded in Kebbi (14.09percent), Bauchi (13.74percent) and Plateau (13.25percent), while Delta (9.72percent), Bayelsa (9.40percent) and Kwara (8.46percent) recorded the slowest rise in headline Year on Year inflation.

On a month on month basis, the highest inflation rates recorded in September 2019 were in Kogi (3.18percent), Ondo (2.17percent) and Kwara (2.02percent), while Kano (0.45percent), River (0.41percent) and Zamfara (0.33percent) recorded the slowest rise. 

During the same period, food inflation on a year on year basis was highest in Niger (16.65percent), Nasarawa (16.57percent) and Abuja (16.31percent), while Akwa Ibom (11.72percent), Benue (11.22percent) and Bayelsa (9.95percent) recorded the slowest rise. On month on month basis, however, September 2019 food inflation was highest in Kogi (4.90percent), Delta (3.82percent) and Kwara (3.70percent), while Kano (0.18percent) and Zamfara (0.17percent) recorded the slowest rise with River recording price deflation or negative inflation.

What this means

This result finally paints the true picture of inflation in Nigeria which shows that inflation in the country is rising. The prices of food and other items have continued to soar thereby causing hardship for a lot of Nigerians. However, this general increase in the price of food is partly due to the closure of Nigerian borders most especially the Seme border which has been the entry point for smuggled goods like rice, frozen food items among others. It would be recalled that Nigeria’s President Buhari on August 19, closed Nigeria’s borders to goods trade with Benin and Niger declaring the time had come to end rampant smuggling from those countries.

During the month under review, the price of a 50kg bag of rice increased by almost 30percent to N24,000 up from N18,000 in August. If stringent measures are not put in place, the country may see itself falling into stagflation (stagnant growth and rising inflation).