Rising prices of basic food items such as bread, fish, cereals and house hold expenses including rent and school fees have helped push the average inflation rate in Nigeria to 18.3% in October. Inflation measures the average change in the prices of goods and services.
House rent, Water, Electricity, Gas, fuels used to power generators, cars and other personal transport equipment and as well as cost of education saw the highest increases in price in the month of October.
The latest inflation data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that the fast pace increase in the prices of these items helped push average inflation rate to 18.3% in October.
Rise in the prices of food items also contributed to the higher October inflation figure with prices of food items rising to 17.1% when compared to the same period in 2015. The NBS data shows that the food items with the most rise in prices are Bread and Cereal, Fish, and Meat.
“These figures show that most families are under significant pressure. Food and utilities are expenditures families cannot do without. So if the prices are going up and the family income is stagnant, it basically means that many families are already falling into the poverty trap” an economist told BusinessDay.
The NBS data also show that the most vulnerable members of the society are under the most pressure as the average price of a litre of kerosene was N293 in October N5 higher than N288 it sold in September. In Sokoto, the price of a litre of kerosene was as high as N375 while it sold for N371 in Taraba and N354 in Yobe. The cheapest place to buy Kerosene in Nigeria is Katsina where a litre of Kerosene was sold for N230. The average price of a litre of kerosene has gone up by 29.3 percent in the last one year putting significant pressure on the poor. An estimated 65% of Nigerian households buy kerosene with 96% of those buying kerosene using it for cooking purposes.
Kerosene is now almost twice more expensive than petrol, which is subsidized by the government. Average price of a litre of petrol in October remained unchanged from its September price of N146. This price stability has been helped by the subsidies offered by the government.
But Unofficially many analysts spoken to by BusinessDay believe the data released by the NBS does not fully capture the true extent of the change in prices of goods and services across the country.