James Emejo in Abuja
The currency curbs introduced by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, coupled with fuel scarcity, have contributed to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, to 12.8 per cent in March, compared to 11.4 per cent in February and 9.6 per cent in January, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated on Tuesday.
It blamed the 1.4 per cent rise in the headline index on an increase in the prices of goods and services across the country, the highest year-on-year rise since July 2012.
The NBS stated that the planting season, transportation costs, as well as foreign exchange movements created significant upward pressure on the food index in March.
It further stated that the knock on effect of foreign exchange movements, which have in turn affected the prices of imported food and non-food items, the importation of petrol as well as the adjustment in the electricity tariffs nationwide resulted in a surge of rates.
According to the CPI figures for March released by the statistical agency yesterday, the food index increased by 1.4 per cent to 12.7 per cent compared to what was recorded in February.
It added that all major food groups that contribute to the food sub-index increased at a faster pace while imported items as well as other domestic shocks continued to have ripple effects across many divisions that contribute to the core index which increased by 1.1 per cent to 12.2 per cent in March.
NBS said both the urban and rural inflation recorded marked increases for the second consecutive month in March, as the latter’s index rose by 1.2 percentage points from 12.3 per cent (year-on-year) in February to 13.5 per cent in March.
The rural index increased by 1.3 per cent from 10.7 per cent in February to 12.0 per cent in March.
In the same vein, the average monthly price paid by Nigerian households for a litre of petrol across the country increased to N134.69/litre in March compared to N99.76/litre in February and N109.59/litre in January, the NBS stated.
The official pump price of petrol was between N86 and N86.50/litre but figures provided showed that on the monthly average, Nigerians continued to purchase petrol above the official rate in the period under review.
According to the petrol report for March from NBS, Borno and Lagos States recorded the lowest monthly average price of N87.00/litre and N90.08/litre respectively.
On the other hand, Nasarawa and Cross River States accounted for the highest monthly average of petrol at N166.67/litre and N160.35/litre respectively. Abuja recorded a monthly average of N104.90/litre.