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Analysts Urge FG to Intensify Efforts to Curb Inflation


Analysts yesterday prevailed on the federal government to do more to reign in rising inflation, occasioned largely by structural challenges.


The Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation peaked at 15.92 per cent (Year on year) in March 2022 compared to 18.17 per cent in March 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).


This was the highest level inflation had attained since October 2021, when it was recorded at 15.99 per cent before dropping to 15.40 per cent in November last year, 15.63 per cent in December, 15.60 per cent in January and 15.70 per cent February.


The composite food index rose to 17.20 per cent in March compared to 22.95 per cent recorded in March, 2021.


Month-on-month, the food sub-index increased to 1.99 per cent in March, up by 0.12 per cent from 1.87 per cent in February.


Worried by rising inflation particularly the food component, President Muhammad Buhari had recently authorised the release of 40,000 metric tons (MT) of grains from the National Strategic Grains Reserves (SGR) to vulnerable Nigerians to cushion the effects of rising prices of food items.


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Abubakar, had explained the government’s move was aimed at cushioning the effect of high prices of commodities across the country especially as the Ramadan, Easter and Sallah festivities approached.


However, reacting to the increasing inflationary concerns and the government’s reaction, analysts in separate interviews with THISDAY, said the palliative measures by the government, though commendable, would only provide short-term reprieve to soaring food prices.


They pointed out that current local food production remained inadequate in satisfying increasing demand amidst a fast-growing population.


The analysts also recommended the importation of food items in the short term to meet existing supply gaps.


Managing Director/Chief Executive, SD&D Capital Management Limited, Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, told THISDAY that the release and distribution of the 40,000 metric tons of grain could only served as a stop gap measure only if it is adequately channeled to the poorest in the population and not on political leanings.


He said, “The factors leading to the high cost of food prices are still subsisting and if not addressed we might not witness a reduction in the cost of food prices for a long time to come.


“The gas pressure has abated temporarily in some state capitals however, it has increased the cost of transportation of farm produce which definitely affects the cost.”


Also, the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Credent Investment Managers Limited, Mr. Ibrahim Shelleng, said to tame inflation, heavy investment in mechanised farming remained the only way out.


According to him, the federal government must also look for a solution to the security issues that continued to plague the agricultural communities especially in the Northern part of the country.


On his part, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Dignity Finance and Investment Limited, Dr. Chijioke Ekechukwu, said, “We need to identify all the causes of inflation and high cost of production and deal with them head-on.”

Culled from THISDAY

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