The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), on Wednesday in Lagos, said the country’s increasing rate of inflation over the past months might continue for a longer time.
NECA’s director-general, Dr Timothy Olawale, in an interview said the rate could further distort the management of the economy as prices of food products were over 57 per cent of average spending.
Latest figures published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s inflation rate climbed to a 33-month high, as it rose further to 16.47 per cent in January 2021, from 15.75 per cent in December 2020.
“The combination of the rising inflation rate at 17.3 per cent in February 2021 and unemployment rate now at high- level of 33.3 per cent in Q4, 2020, expected to bring the misery index to a further record high of about 75 per cent.
“It is noticeable that food prices jumped more than 20 per cent, heaping financial pressure on households already faced with a shrinking labour market and stagnant economy at a time of mounting insecurity,” he said.
The director-general noted that with the current situation, there was apprehension that the country might be faced with food problems, occasioned by the insecurity facing almost every region of the country.
According to him, insecurity, if not checked, would invariably affect the management of the economy, bringing about social unrest.
He said there was the need to address some fundamental factors escalating insecurity, while addressing food security.
“In our projection, the inflation figure will continue to rise until drastic measure in tackling the insecurity situation is addressed.
“To curtail food inflation, adequate support is required in the agriculture sector, to improve productivity in the entire value chain and reduce the cost of food supplies.
“Businesses in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors of the economy continue to decry assess to various intervention programmes of over N1 trillion over a year.
“We call on the monetary authority to make access to the intervention facilities open and accessible to every business, to reduce the economic hardship,” Olawale said.