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Inflation: Cyclone that Inhibits Export, Growth of Nigeria

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Nigeria does not lack economic information to guide the country’s policy projection as done in other climes.
In fact the bureau arguably remains one of the few sectors that has continued to attract the confidence of the public due to the factual and verifiable data it had churned out over the years.
The core of some of those data had always hovered around rising inflation which remains worrisome. The country’s double digit inflation rate has largely been responsible for the weak economy notwithstanding, the negligible improvement announced by the bureau on Thursday, April, 13.
 The bureau had in the Consumer Price Index report for March said that the inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index dropped from 14.33 per cent in February to 13.34 per cent in March year-on-year.
The bureau stated in the CPI report released on Thursday in Abuja that the figure showed 14 consecutive reductions in inflation rate since January 2017.
According to the bureau, the figure is 0.99 per cent points less than the 14. 33 per cent recorded in February.
The NBS, however, noted that increases were recorded in the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions that yielded the headline index.
On a month-on-month basis, the report stated the Headline index increased by 0.84 per cent in March 2018, up by 0.05 per cent points from the rate recorded in February.
It added that the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ended March over the average of the CPI for previous 12-month period was 15.60 per cent.
It indicated that the figures were 0.33 per cent lower from 15.93 per cent recorded in February.
The report, however, stated that urban inflation rate eased by 13.75 per cent (year-on-year) in March from 14.76 per cent recorded in February, while the Rural inflation rate also eased by 12.99 per cent in March from 13.96 per cent in February.
According to the report, the Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 per cent (year on year) in March 2018, down from the rate recorded in February (17.59 per cent).
It stated that ``All Items less Farm Produce’’ or Core inflation, which excluded the prices of volatile agricultural produce, rose by 11.2 per cent in March, down by 0.5 per cent points from the rate recorded in February (11.7 per cent).
The drop in the composite food index excluding prices of volatile agricultural produce was simply an indicator of interplay of import of goods into the country without commensurate export activities.
For example, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) announced on Wednesday, April 11, that 45 ships laden with petroleum products, food items, to arrive Lagos ports
 The Forty-five ships laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods are expected to arrive Apapa and TinCan Island Ports in Lagos from April 11 to April 28, according to the NPA.
A total of 15 of the expected 39 ships would sail in with petrol, it said in a publication made available to newsmen.
According to the NPA, the remaining 30 ships contained bulk wheat, bulk sugar, frozen fish, diesel, ethanol, bulk fertiliser, general cargo and containers laden with goods.
Already 14 ships had arrived the ports waiting to berth with container, bulk fertiliser and petrol, the NPA disclosed in its daily “Shipping Position” early Thursday.
It said that eight of the vessels were laden with petrol, while the remaining four would berth with general cargo, container, oil, and bulk fertiliser.
As can be seen, the country has little or nothing to do to stem the vulnerability of the country as a result of daily import.
The attempt by successive governments to diversify the economy have not yielded the required result. President Muhammadu  Buhari, like his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan has continued to rely on sales from crude oil.
Leap service is paid to the urgent need to diversify the economy without also quenching the opulent tastes of government officials and other Nigerians who create the demand for foreign goods and services.
The country free trade zone scheme meant to encourage local production of goods for export has been left unattended to. The government must come to the realization that there is more to gain from export than from import. What could more convincing than the positives accruing to the country from the ban on importation of rice?.
 This was attested to by Mr Kayode Oguntuase, Nigerian Ambassador to Benin Republic, who on April 11 said the ban on rice and vehicles importation through the land border was for the benefit of Nigerians.
He said this in a statement issued by the Consul, Mr Olanrewaju Badmus in Badagry, Lagos.
Oguntuase spoke when he paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Yashikira, in Kwara State, Alhaji Umar Seriki.
He said the ban placed on rice and importation of cars through the land border was to improve local production.
``We would keep on addressing this matter until people understand the short and long term benefits of this policy that the government has taken in order to improve the economy.
``Our locally made products have to be encouraged in order to provide employment for people and in order to make this happen, some drastic steps must be taken and this is one of them.
``If Cotonou was making its own cars, then it would be a different case but they also import these things and we wouldn’t allow Nigeria to be a dumping ground for all these products.
``The government has the well being of its citizens at heart and to achieve such goal, some measures must be taken to ensure that,’’ Oguntuase said.
The envoy was right, as the culmination of import and smuggling remain the extraneous force that had so far inhibited the country’s economic growth due to attendant high inflationary trends.
In the words of the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now Emir of Kano, while speaking on the urgent need to fight corruption said ``If Nigerians did not Kill corruption, corruption will kill us’’.
So, in similar vein, ``if Nigerians did not kill inflation, inflation will kill us’’.
But how could inflation be killed?, it is simply by reducing the infrastructural deficit, promoting the non-oil sector and export, extinguishing the opulent taste of most Nigerians as well as create friendly business environment to attract investors.