Nigeria’s inflation rate rose for the third consecutive month to 8.4 per cent in February, from 8.2 per cent the previous month, partly driven by increases in prices of imported food items, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday.
Food prices, which account for the bulk of the inflation basket, accelerated to 9.4 per cent from 9.2 per cent in January.
The central bank devalued the naira in November and scrapped its bi-weekly forex auctions, with many analysts fearing the downward pressure on currency could stoke inflationary pressures.
“The imported food sub-index increased by 8.8 per cent (year-on-year), the highest increase recorded since February 2013,” the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
More than half of Nigeria’s population of 160 million live in villages and imports account for only 13 per cent of total domestic consumption, the statistics office has said, so the effect of imported inflation has been limited following the devaluation.
The naira suffered its biggest monthly decline in more than five years last month, amid concern over political uncertainty after the presidential election was delayed and the central bank’s ability to manage the currency as oil prices fell.
The fall in the currency prompted the NBS to increase its year-end estimates for inflation in Africa’s biggest economy, to around 9 per cent, the upper end of the central bank’s target, from its January forecast of 8.78 for 2015.