GreenLand News Magazine Annual Lecture/Award, Stakeholders X-ray Persistent Rising Inflation, Way Forward
The GreenLand News Magazine organised 2023, Annual Lecture/Award, 3rd Edition with the theme: “: X-Raying Nigeria Persistent Rising Inflation, Causes, Solution: Way Forward”, yesterday in Abuja.
The event convened dignitaries from all works of life to deliberate on the way forward to the persistent rising inflation in the country.
Delivering the Keynote address, Prof. Emmanuel Hala Kwon-Ndung, Director Centre for Energy Studies. Federal University of Lafia, said “a significant factor in Nigeria’s inflation is the fluctuation in exchange rates. A devaluation of the Nigerian Naira has led to higher prices for imported goods, which contributes to inflation. Nigeria is a chronic importer of many foreign goods. The increase in the foreign exchange price continuously raises the inflation rate.”
“Poor infrastructure can lead to supply-side bottlenecks, increasing production costs and reducing the supply of goods and services. This can contribute to cost-push inflation. Infrastructure Development is pivotal to national economic growth. In simple terms, it is the improvement of the quality of the different components of the infrastructure — transport system, power/energy, ICT, water and sanitation, and others.”
According to him, “the Central Bank of Nigeria should implement prudent monetary policies to control the money supply and interest rates. This can help manage demand-pull inflation. There is this school of thought that monetary policy alone cannot solve the increasing inflation rate experienced in Nigeria because the current inflation is driven by supply. Government can in the short term, allow the import of food to help curb the issue of current high prices while a long term measure of fixing security and infrastructure issues should be the focus.,
“Efforts to stabilize the exchange rate are crucial in stemming inflation. This may involve measures to reduce currency speculation and increase foreign exchange reserves.
“Investing in the agriculture sector to improve food production and security can help reduce food-related inflation. Nigeria’s inflation is mainly from food. We have a cost-push inflation as sellers are passing on the higher cost of bringing goods to the market. A multi-sectoral approach in promoting agricultural production along the value chains is necessary because there seems to be no way that direct intervention funds can slow down food inflation in Nigeria. The inflation phenomenon in Nigeria is multi-variable with attendant cost-push, illegal funds in the hands of many, inflation from import-intensive and dependent economy, price gouging from those ready to exploit consumers, hoarding, poor data management due to the large informal economic activities and the general fact that the economy is so loose that many get away with doing the wrong things.”
Improving security on farms and tackling logistics bottlenecks around moving food across the country will put downward pressure on food prices and reduce food inflation. It may also be worthwhile to consider promoting regional African food trade, by maybe re-opening the borders and cutting tariffs on imported food will reduce food prices and reduce inflation. From a government finance perspective, improving tax collections and reducing the need for large fiscal deficits which then need to be financed will reduce inflation
Prof. Kwon-Ndung, further said that addressing infrastructure challenges is essential to reduce production costs and improve the supply of goods and services.
“The government should exercise fiscal discipline and reduce budget deficits. This can be achieved through responsible spending and effective revenue collection. A higher rate of enforcement and compliance of taxes and other revenues through rents, levies, duties, fees and fines.”
“Raising public awareness about inflation and its impact can help in managing inflation expectations. The public perception and understanding of inflation can help reduce wage-price spirals.
“Reducing over reliance on oil exports and diversifying the economy can make it more resilient to external shocks and reduce vulnerabilities to inflation.” Kwon-Ndung said.
In her welcome address, Amb. Dr. Peace Ofeoshi, Editor-in-Chief of the GreenLand News Magazine, said Nigeria Inflation Rate Shoots Up to Over 18-Year High of 26.7%. The annual inflation rate continued to accelerate to reach an over 18-year high of 26.7% in September 2023, up from August’s 25.8%, mainly attributed to second-round effects of the removal of old petrol subsidy and the devaluation of the naira against the greenback on both the official and parallel markets. Prices of food, which is the most relevant in the consumer price index (CPI) basket, jumped to 30.6% in September, the highest since August 2005, from 29.3% in the prior month, also linked to security issues in food-producing regions. Additional upward pressure came from other CPI items, including transportation (27.2% vs 27.1%); housing & utilities (22.5% vs 21.8%); and miscellaneous goods & services (21.9% vs 21.8%). The annual core inflation rate, which excludes farm produce, climbed further to 22.1% in September, quickening from 21.2% in August. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 2.1% in September, following a 3.2% surge in the prior month.
In her words:
“She stressed that the current inflation might seems frightening, but few things could help to alleviate the problem of inflation in Nigeria. One is increasing the supply of goods and services, which could help to reduce prices and make things more affordable for people. Another is improving the country’s infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, and water, which could help to reduce costs and improve productivity. Also, strengthening the country’s institutions and reducing corruption could also help to stabilize the economy and make it more resilient to economic shocks.”
Highlights of the occasion includes award presentation to exemplary individuals who have contributed immensely in nation building. Amongst whom are: Amb. Humphrey Geiseb, High Commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria, Hon. Stainless Nwodo, Honourable Member Representing Igbo Etiti/Uzo-Uwani, Federal Constituency Enugu State, at the National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olubunmi Adelugba, the immediate past Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Rev. Uche Ukadike Ibeabuchi (JP) Honourable Commissioner, Representing Anambra State in Federal Character Commission, Hon. Florence Ginika Tor, Honourable Commissioner, Representing Enugu State in Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Ibrahim Yusufu Idris, FCA, the immediate past Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Environment, Prof. Emmanuel Hala Kwon-Ndung, Director Centre for Energy Studies. Federal University of Lafia, Executive Chairman of Kogi State Science, Technical Education and Teaching Service Commission (STETSCOM), Hon. (Mrs.) Cecilia E. Cook, Professor Edward Uzoma Ezedike, member of University of Port Harcourt Strategic Research Policy Review Committee and a member of the Polish Fulbright Commission Applications Review Team (Poland), Comrade Annah Iyana Daniel, Chairperson, Association of Women Journalists NAWOJ (FCT), Chapter