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COVID-19: Inflation Hits 2-year High

Nigeria’s inflation rose in April to its highest in two years, amidst a coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the global economy, the nation’s bureau of statistics has said.

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, via its Consumer Price Index report said inflation rose to 12.34 per cent in April, when compared with April 2019, and up from 0.08 percent in March 2020.

The closure of land borders in the country in August 2019 was a major driving force for the upward trend of the inflation rate of the country since September 2019.

The closure affected the availability of rice, vegetable oil, frozen food and other staples, causing prices of the commodities to be on the increase.

Economies soon became battered by the coronavirus pandemic that has seen economies locked down.

Nigerian states, including Abuja and commercial centre Lagos, have been on a lockdown for close to two months now.

The NBS said the composite food index rose by 15.03 per cent in April 2020 compared to 14.98 per cent in March 2020.

This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of potatoes, yam and other tubers, bread and cereals, fish, oils and fats, meat, fruits and vegetables.

For inflation In States In April 2020, all-item inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Bauchi, Sokoto, and Plateau while Edo, Abuja and Kwara recorded the slowest rise.

For food inflation, Sokoto, Akwa Ibom and Abuja recorded the highest while Ebonyi, Edo, and Enugu recorded the slowest rice.

“On month on month basis however, April 2020 food inflation was highest in Akwa Ibom, Lagos and Oyo , while Bayelsa, Ebonyi and Enugu recorded price deflation or negative inflation (general decrease in the general price level of food or a negative food inflation rate),” the NBS said.

Reacting to the latest inflation figure, an economist and CEO, Global Analytics Consulting Limited, Tope Fasua, urged the government to reopen the economy.

“When you look at the statistics,we have lost 200 people (dying from coronavirus) out of 200 million people, thats 0.000001 percent, however a lot more people have died from not being able to get money to treat as little as headache,” he said.

“In some places, some security personnel are overzealous, shutting down pharmacies and harrassing medical personnel.

“So at the end of the day you are going to end up killing more people apart from people who are suffering from high blood pressure of not being able to operate their businesses.”

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