A Senior Economist at SPM Professionals, Paul Alaje, said it is shocking that Kogi emerged as the State with the worst inflation rate in the country despite its geographical position in the country and having huge share of its population engaging in farming.
The economist said this during a monitored programme on TVC News Business Nigeria.
Nigeria’s inflation rose to 16.47 per cent in January from the 15.75 per cent seen last December, while food inflation jumped to the worst level in decades to 20.57 per cent in January 2021 from 19.56 per cent in December 2020.
Over the past months, the Middle Belt State had either topped the chart for inflation rate or remained among the worst, according to National Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index report.
This was despite claims that 70 per cent of their population are engaged in farming activities.
In January 2021, inflation rate was highest in Kogi 21.38 per cent, while food prices surged worst to levels at 26.64 per cent.
The State in December last year, saw inflation rate surge to 18.40 per cent, representing the third highest figure among other states.
Food inflation jumped to 23.14 per cent, which is also the second worst food inflation rate recorded amongst Nigerian states.
The State Governor, Yahaya Bello had last year revealed he provided 100 tractors to farmers across the 21 local government areas of the state.
Bello had said, “If we must end food insecurity in the state, we must promote and encourage the young, old and empower the youths, women by providing them the necessary materials or tools.”
But reacting to the inflation report, Alaje said, “Go to Kogi State that top highest inflation, perhaps among the state with top horrible infrastructure in the country today. One would have expected that Kogi state because of where it is located will enjoy what we call ‘growth pole model,’ unfortunately, it is not the reflecting in that state.”
For the whole country, Alaje linked the rise in inflation to the current insecurity and herders crisis which is affecting farming activities across the affected states.
The economist explained that logistics issues needed to be resolved to facilitate the movement of produce in the country.
He said, “16.47 per cent inflation is the result of the ongoing kidnapping, ongoing insecurity and inability to solve security issues. If you have it and we are still having it, so don’t expect reduction by March when February result comes out.
“We need to be able to allow more people go to farms, and they will be secured and for herders to continue their practice without necessarily behaving conflict with farmers. The two are major components of agricultural sector can cohabit without one introducing on the right of other, we start seeing reduction.
“It is not only fiscal authorities that determine what inflation is. We have moved MPR from 14 per cent to 11.5 per cent, because the monetary policy authority is trying to converge with the fiscal policy authority and when you continue to have low and low Monetary Policy Rate, you should expect to have high and high inflation figure. “