Increased Cost of Living

LAST Tuesday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its consumer price index/inflation report, which showed that Nigeria’s Inflation Rate has risen from 16.47% recorded in January to 17.33% in February, 2021. This is said to be the highest point the inflation rate has reached since April, 2017.

ACCORDING to the report, the food inflation rate stood at 21.79%, the highest since 2009, when the data series began. The upward movement in food inflation, the NBS noted, was caused by increases in the prices of bread, cereals, fish, potatoes, yam and other tubers, vegetables, meat, fats and oils, fruits and food products.

THE report also showed that inflation rate in the urban areas was higher than the inflation rate in the rural areas.

IN terms of states, Kogi, Bauchi and Ebonyi states recorded the highest inflation growths; while Kwara, Enugu and Cross River states had the lowest growth in inflation for the period under review.

THE NBS report has further confirmed the findings of a survey by The Voice concerning the prices of building materials across the country.

THE survey, published on page 3 in our March 15-21 edition, showed that the prices have continued to rise in the past one year. Our respondents pointed out that this increase in prices had adversely affected their building projects.

AS if this high cost of living is not worrisome enough, another report released by the NBS a day earlier than the inflation report, showed that the rate of unemployment in the country increased to 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.The report revealed that more than half of Nigeria’s 69.7 million people that constitute the nation’s labour force are unemployed or underemployed.

THE combined effect of these statistics is that with the soaring cost of living, the value of people’s income has continued to depreciate. And the continued increase in the number of the unemployed and the underemployed shows that the rate of population growth is outpacing available vacancies in the labour market.

TO tackle the problem of price increases, The Voice suggests that the Federal Government should evolve policies that would help reduce the cost of production and distribution of manufactured goods, as well as production and distribution of agricultural products. This way, the prices of products and services would reduce to a more affordable level.

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