The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and Labour Party, LP, yesterday, railed at the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as costs of food items, others pushed inflation to an 18-year high rise of 26.72 per cent in September.
The Presidency and APC kept sealed lips on the attacks with the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, fingering increases in prices of oil and fat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruit, meat, vegetables and milk, cheese, and eggs as the causes of the inflation spike.
Contacted, the Presidency declined comments and referred newsmen to the Finance Minister, Wale Edun, who could not be reached as he is currently in Morocco for the World Bank/IMF summit.
Released on a day the world marked World Food Day, the Labour Party described the soaring prices of food and other items as a verdict on President Bola Tinubu’s reign, just as its presidential candidate in the last election, Peter Obi, lamented that a vast majority of Nigerians now spend their entire income on food, which is hardly enough.
The PDP said the report showed that President Tinubu and the APC were not ready for governance.
APC keeps mum
National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Felix Morka, declined comments, saying, “I don’t have any information on that for now.”
Also, a presidency source declined comments and directed newsmen to the Finance Minister, who could not be reached as he is currently in Morocco for the World Bank/IMF summit.
In its Consumer Price Index, CPI, report for September released yesterday, the NBS said the headline inflation rate rose year-on-year by 26.72 per cent in September 2023, representing a 920 basis point increase, compared to the 25.8 per cent recorded in August.
The Bureau also said that the food index also increased YoY to 30.64 per cent from 29.34 per cent in August.
NBS said: “In September 2023, the headline inflation rate increased to 26.72 percent relative to the August 2023 headline inflation rate, which was 25.8 percent.
“Looking at the movement, the September 2023 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 0.92 percentage points when compared to the August 2023 headline inflation rate.
“On a YoY basis, the headline inflation rate was 5.94 percent points higher compared to the rate recorded in September 2022, which was 20.77 percent.
“This shows that the headline inflation rate (YoY basis) increased in September 2023 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e., September 2022).”
However, inflation rate slowed month-on-month (MoM) by 1.08 percentage points to 2.1 percent in September from 3.18 per cent in August. NBS added: “This means that in September 2023, the rate of increase in the average price level was less than the rate of increase in the average price level in August 2023.
On food inflation, NBS said: “The Food inflation rate in September 2023 was 30.64 percent on a YoY basis, which was 7.3 percentage points higher compared to the rate recorded in September 2022 (23.34 percent).
“The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of Oil and fat, bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruit, meat, vegetables and milk, cheese, and eggs.”
Tinubu, APC, unprepared for governance — PDP
According to the PDP the NBS report simply confirmed how unprepared the President Tinubu-led administration is for the task of governance.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Debo Ologunagba, in a telephone interview with newsmen, said: “We are not in the least surprised about the report. It is not particularly news that the prices of food and other items have pushed inflation to 26.72 per cent, it also confirms what we have always told Nigerians about this government.
“When inflation climbed to double digits after the APC took power in 2015, we told Nigerians it can only get worse because the APC can’t give what it does not have. “Like the Muhammadu Buhari administration before it, this administration has pushed more Nigerians further down into poverty. The number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty which stood at over 133 million, representing roughly 64 per cent of Nigerians during the Buhari regime, has risen under Tinubu.
“Nigerians are invited to note that when the PDP was in power, the economy was better managed, inflation was within single digits, the exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar was around N180 to $1 USD but today, the Naira is the worst performing currency in the world exchanging at over N1,000 to $1USD.
“A 50 kg bag of rice under successive PDP governments sold for no more N8,000 per bag but now you’ll struggle to get the same bag for N50,000 at a time the national minimum wage is just N30,000 per month.
“This is the legacy the APC is leaving behind. We urge Nigerians not to despair, help is coming. We are confident that the Supreme Court which is the last hope of the common man will do justice and return our stolen mandate for our dear nation to return to the path of growth and prosperity.”
NBS report verdict on Tinubu’s rule — LP
In like manner, the LP said the NBS report is a reflection of how badly the President Tinubu-led administration is running the economy.
National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, in a telephone interview with newsmen, said: “The NBS report pegging the national inflation rate of food prices and other items at 26.72 per cent, is simply a reflection of how badly the Tinubu administration has failed since taking over albeit temporarily on May 29, 2023. “The truth is, you can’t give what you don’t have. He has recruited more image-makers than people who can properly manage the economy. What we have is a trial and error administration.”
Nigerians now spend income on food — Obi
In a post on X, formerly known as twitter,Obi said the food crisis had remained a serious challenge for many households in the country, noting that “a vast majority of Nigerians spend the entirety of their disposable income on food, which is often hardly enough.”
Obi also urged the government to find urgent solutions to the food crisis, saying: “As the global community marks World Food Day today, we must remind ourselves of the present food crisis in the nation, and seek urgent steps to salvage the people from further hunger and starvation.
“Food crisis has remained a serious challenge facing many households in Nigeria, as the country is reported, by Global Hunger Index, to be facing a serious hunger level.
“With more than half of the population living in poverty, a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has shown that over 90 million Nigerians face food insecurity, thus posing obstacles to a healthy population and human development.
“In the 2023 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranked 109th out of the 125 countries measured, showing that we currently battle high levels of hunger. Reports have it that Nigeria’s food inflation rate in August 2023 was about 30 percent on a year-on-year basis.” He also lamented that constant attacks on farmers in the country by armed and terrorist groups were pushing the country towards a hunger crisis.
“The horrible spate of attacks on farmers in Nigeria by armed and terror groups have continued to hinder food production, food supplies and therefore, threatening to push the country deeper into a devastating hunger crisis. Lack of adequate investment in agriculture also contributes greatly to food crisis in Nigeria.
“I have maintained that the vast fertile lands in the North, if put into productive agricultural use, will produce enough food for domestic consumption and for exports, which can give us more revenue than we generate from oil.
“Government, therefore, must invest heavily in agriculture, to ensure sufficient food production for Nigeria and the global world. Happy World Food Day,” he said.
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