17 April 2015, Lagos – The National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday released the Consumer Price Index for the month of March, stating that the inflation rate had risen to 8.5 per cent.
The 0.1 per cent increase in inflation, according to a report by the NBS, makes it the fourth consecutive month that the index would be moving in an upward direction.
It said while the pace of increase in food prices held firm for the second consecutive month, the faster increase in the headline index was driven by increases in the non-food divisions.
The report, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, stated, “In March, the CPI, which measures inflation, rose by 8.5 per cent (year-on-year), marginally higher from the 8.4 per cent rate recorded in February. This is the fourth consecutive month of a faster increase in the headline index to reach the highest inflation rate recorded for the year.
“The headline rate for March also equals last year’s high recorded in August. While the pace of increase in food prices held firm for the second consecutive month, the faster increase in the headline index was driven by increases in the non-food divisions.”
The report added that food prices as observed by the food sub-index increased at relatively the same pace in March as in February by 9.4 per cent.
This pace of increase, it explained, was weighted upon by a slower increase in the bread and cereals, oils and fats, dairy and confectionary groups.
Year-on-year, the report stated that both the urban and rural price indices recorded faster increases in March.
“The urban index increased by 8.6 per cent, 0.2 percentage points from February; while the rural index increased marginally from 8.3 per cent in February to 8.4 per cent in March. On a month-on-month basis, both the urban and rural indices increased at a faster pace in March, increasing by 0.9 per cent,” the report added.
On a month-on-month basis, the highest price increases were recorded in the fruit, fish, potatoes, yam and other tubers, and vegetables groups.
Reacting to the continuous increase in inflation rate, financial analysts blamed the development on the recent devaluation of the naira as well as the increase in election spending.
The Head, Research and Strategy, BGL Securities Plc, Mr. Femi Ademola, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, predicted that the upward trend might continue till June owing to the impact of election spending.
He said, “We have been complaining that election spending and the devaluation of the naira would put more pressure on prices of goods and services. We will continue to see increase in inflation until June because the liquidity caused by election spending and others will have to wear off.