Boost Food Production, Analysts Urge Govt as Inflation Hits 14.23%
Analysts reinforced their call to the federal government to increase food production as a means of combatting inflation that has continued its uptick.
The analysts, in separate interviews with THISDAY, said monetary policy alone can no longer curtail the rising inflation, which hit 14.23 per cent in October, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
They added that since food inflation, which increased by 17.38 per cent in October, up from 16.66 per cent in September, appeared to be the major cause of inflationary pressures, the government should implement the massive agricultural programme contained in the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), which was launched to stimulate economic recovery amidst the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They urged the government to spend heavily on food subsidies to avert a potential famine, adding that the impact of the lockdown, occasioned by the pandemic and floods in some parts of the country had taken a huge toll on livelihoods.
According to the NBS data, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 14.23 per cent (year-on-year) in October compared to 13.71 per cent in the preceding month.
Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, stood at 11.14 per cent, up by 0.56 per cent when compared with 10.58 per cent in the preceding month.
On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.54 per cent or 0.06 per cent rate higher than the 1.48 per cent recorded in September as the composite food index also rose by 17.38 per cent from 16.66 per cent.
The NBS attributed the rise in food inflation to increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fish, fruits, vegetable, alcoholic and food beverages and oils and fats.
However, the highest increases in prices of passenger transport by air, hospital and medical services, passenger transport by road, pharmaceutical products, motor cars, vehicle spare parts, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling, paramedical services and shoes and other footwear led to core inflation.
The NBS report noted that increases were recorded in all the thresholds that yielded the headline index.
It added that the urban inflation rate increased by 14.81 per cent (year-on-year) in October from 14.31 per cent in the preceding month while the rural index increased by 13.68 per cent from 13.14 per cent.
Against this background, the analysts urged the government to focus efforts on food security to avert a food crisis and other socio-political implications that may arise.