Unending Food Inflation in Nigeria
By Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol
AREWA AGENDA – According to the latest report on the consumer price index (CPI) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday, 17th July, 2020, the inflation rate for the month rose by about 0.16 per cent point, from 12.40 per cent attained in May.
Premium Times reports that inflation in Nigeria has been on the rise since August 2019 when the country shut its land borders with its neighbours to curb smuggling. The border closure had affected the availability of rice, vegetable oil, frozen food, and other staples, causing prices of the commodities to be on the increase. It later became worse with the effect of the novel coronavirus on the global economy.
The highest increases were recorded in prices of Medical services, Hospital services, Passenger transport by road, Pharmaceutical products, Motor cars, Paramedical Services, Maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Vehicle spare parts, and Other services in respect of personal transport equipment.
I strongly support this report from the National Bureau of Statistics. This is because the inflation rate is visible almost everywhere in the country. It is lamentable that this ugly trend continues to persist without any cogent effort to put it to a halt. Despite the fact that border closure and Coronavirus pandemic are said to be the major causes of food inflation, the governments, too, have to be blamed for not coming up with any policy to curtail the lingering hike in commodities.
In my opinion, most of the inflations in the country are artificial- man-made. Businessmen and firms increase prices of commodities at their own will just to maximize profits at the expense of the lives of innocent Nigerians especially during festive periods. This is because our governments failed to enforce price control on them. The ugly side of it is that, if we fail to address this issue urgently, the atrocious businessmen would hike the prices to the extent that poor Nigerians would not get what to put in their mouths and the consequence is that Nigeria will experience starvation, increase in diseases, malnutrition, decrease in number of farmers, as well as involvement in criminal activities just to get what to consume.
To end the lingering inflation, governments at the local, state and federal levels must establish price control policies particularly on consumable items, seeds and other farming necessities especially at this time of a global pandemic in order to cushion its impact on both farmers and consumers. They must also double their efforts in supporting farmers and farming in the country in order to secure the production of food in large quantities.
According to Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” To Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Mahatma Gandhi said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol, Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano. [email protected]
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives