Address rising inflation, shortage of food items, Economist advices Nigeria government

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An economist, Dr Aminu Usman, has advised the Federal Government to focus on domesticating the production of items on its prohibition list to ease up shortages that contributed to price inflation.

Usman, a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He said that the government could open its borders to allow good imports, pending improved local production in the country.

He said that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 16.5 per cent in June from 15.6 per cent in May.

A report released by the NBS in Abuja said that the CPI, which measured inflation, recorded a relatively strong increase for the fifth consecutive month.

It shows that inflation for the month rose to its highest point since October 2005 — 11 years.

The lecturer warned that Nigeria might experience food shortage in 2017, if adequate measures are not put in place to address the high inflation.

According to Usman, food inflation is expected to reduce in September as agricultural produce are harvested from farms.

“ It is expected that prices of agricultural goods and products will fall in the CPI basket with the new harvests.

“However, it is not likely that we will experience that because what will make farmers to produce have not be provided for them.

“The farmers have not been getting farm inputs as before and I want to tell you that fertilisers supply is almost non-existence.

“So, it is likely that we might experience food shortage in 2017 if the trend continues,’’ he said.

In addition, he said that the CPI indicated the level of decline in the economy and the government inability to ease the closure of the country’s border to enable food imports.

“Rising food prices contribute a lot to the spiralling inflation.

“There is also this problem of late rains in the North fuelling speculation of food shortages later in the year, though the rain is coming a little,’’ Usman said.

NAN reports that Inflation rate is expected to be 18.20 per cent by the end of the quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations.

It is estimated to stand at 19.71 per cent in 12 months time and in the long-term, the Nigeria Inflation Rate is projected to trend around 15.15 per cent in 2020