In a concerning trend, Nigeria is grappling with escalating inflation, pushing more citizens into poverty under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration. Headline inflation has surged 24 times in two years, reaching 27.33% in October, driven by a sharp increase in food inflation to 31.52%.
The cost of living has soared across the board, affecting essential goods and services, with notable spikes in food items, accommodation, clothing, electricity, and education fees. Despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s claims that recent monetary policies are yielding results, market survey indicates a substantial rise of at least 20% in food prices.
Citizens across the country share stories of financial strain. Chinedu Odah from Abuja details the challenges: “Huge sacrifices are being made on my end… Months ago, we budgeted and spent N10,000 to provide basic needs for the family in a week. Currently, N20,000 is barely enough to cover the same costs.”
Amina Zakaria in Kaduna echoes the sentiment, stating, “We no longer eat three square meals… Nigeria is hard for my family.”
The World Bank reports that accelerating inflation has forced four million Nigerians into poverty in just five months of 2023, adding to the 133 million already living below the poverty line.
President Tinubu’s promises of economic revitalization face skepticism as fuel subsidy removal and foreign market liberalization negatively impact the nation’s economy. The government’s initiatives, such as increasing the minimum wage and rolling out Compressed Natural Gas buses, aim to alleviate the burden. However, the effectiveness of these measures remains uncertain.
Experts weigh in on the situation, with Dr. Uju Ogunbunka emphasizing the detrimental impact of stagnant disposable incomes amidst rising prices. Former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, calls for a focus on production and job creation to address the economic challenges.
Renowned economist Prof. Segun Ajibola emphasizes the urgency of addressing agricultural issues for food security, while Mr. Idakolo Gbolade urges the government to strengthen the Naira and implement effective economic policies to curb inflation.
As Nigerians grapple with the economic fallout, the path to recovery remains uncertain, and citizens anxiously await tangible improvements in their daily lives.