Nigeria’s headline inflation maintained its upward movement for the sixth consecutive months, rising by 12.20 per cent Year on Year. This represents a seven basis points (0.07per cent) increase from 12.13per cent in January 2020, which is the highest rise since April 2018.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics NBS, the food index rose from 14.85 per cent recorded in January to 14.9 per cent in February 2020 while core inflation increased by 0.08per cent to stand at 9.43per cent compared to 9.35per cent recorded in the preceding month.

Increments were recorded in all subsets of the consumer price indexes as Urban and rural inflation rate increased year-on-year by 12.85per cent and 11.61per cent in February from 12.78per cent and 11.54per cent recorded in January respectively.

The composite food index increased by 14.9per cent in the month under consideration compared to 14.85per cent recorded in the month of January. A rise that is attributed to increase in prices of major household commodities such as; Bread and Cereals, Fish, Meat, Vegetables and Fats & Oils.

However, on month-on-month basis, the food sub-index declined by 0.12per cent points compared 0.99per cent recorded in January to stand at 0.87per cent.

The “All items less farm produce” also known as Core inflation which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce increased by 9.43per cent in February 2020. A figure that is 0.08per cent higher when compared to 9.35per cent recorded in the previous month.

Inflation drivers: The highest increases were recorded in prices of Pharmaceutical products, Catering services, Air transport, Furniture repair, Repair and maintenance of personal transport equipment, Water supply, Major household appliances, Dental services, carpet and other floor coverings, Vehicle spare parts and Non-durable household goods.

Food inflation was highest in Sokoto State with 17.12per cent (year-on-year), followed by Plateau State (16.99per cent), Gombe State (16.96per cent), Edo State (16.71per cent) and Kano State with food index of 16.45per cent.

Also, Bauchi State recorded the worst hit in terms of All items inflation with 14.47per cent rate followed by Niger State, which recorded 14.06per cent inflation rate. Other states include Plateau (13.98per cent), Sokoto (13.96per cent) and Kano (13.86per cent).

Meanwhile, Bayelsa, Katsina, Bauchi states led the list of states with lowest food inflation rate with 11.89per cent, 13.04per cent and 13.04per cent respectively while Nasarawa and Ondo States followed with 13.5per cent and 13.53per cent.

What this latest inflation rate means is that the purchasing power of consumers has worsened and their ability to afford the same quantity of goods or services has reduced despite income level maintaining status quo.

There is apprehension that with the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID 19), which is scaring away Investors and oil price reducing globally, inflation rate may rise above 12.3per cent.