Stakeholders call for overhaul of economic policy to check rising inflation
Stakeholders in the Nigerian economic system have said the only way out of the persistent rise in inflation rate is for a total overhaul of the nation’s economic policy.
The stakeholders, who were reacting to the November 2022 consumer price index (CPI) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yesterday, said it was time to go back to the drawing board to find out where the problem is.
According to the report by NBS, Nigeria’s inflation rate rose for the 10th consecutive month in November to 21.47 per cent from 21.09 per cent recorded in October 2022.
Mrs. Titilayo Fowokan, a council member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), told The Guardian in a telephone interview that what the persistent rise in inflation shows is that the nation has consistently got its economic policies and programmes wrong.
According to her, “you can’t continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. This is the time to lay the cards on the table, bring in economic experts to examine our system, spot the problem and proffer solutions. ”
She said Nigeria cannot continue like this because the high cost of things is taking a toll on the people and has negatively affected their living standards.
“This rise in inflation is having a toll on the livelihood of the people and lowering our living standards. We need to go back to the drawing board, we’ve also been having fuel scarcity every now and then, can’t we find a lasting solution to it?”
The founder and chief executive officer of Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf, said tackling inflation requires urgent government intervention to address the challenges bedeviling the supply side of the economy.
“We need to address the issue of production and productivity constraints, we need to fix the dysfunctional forex policy, and institution of fiscal reforms to curb escalating deficit spending,” Yusuf said, adding, “to give producers and citizens some relief, the government could tweak the tariff policies by granting concessionary import duty on intermediate products for industrialists, especially those in the food processing segments of the agriculture value chain.”
Also speaking, a former President of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr. Sam Nzekwe, said the government needs to take another look at its priorities and prioritize production.
He said as long as Nigeria continues to import almost everything it needs, it will continue to import inflation into the country.
“We need to produce, the government needs to create the enabling environment for industries to thrive,” Nzekwe said.
He also noted that one cannot discount the impact of the ongoing campaigns on the level of money supply. “And these monies, according to him, “are not backed by any productive activity.”
Rights activist and National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Comrade Emma Onwubiko, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has completely lost it in the area of restoration of economic stability to Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Hills Limited, Kelvin Emmanuel said the increase of 0.34% in core inflation from 21.09% to 21.43%, and a corresponding increase in food inflation of 0.41% from 23.72% to 24.13% is proof that currency depreciation and devaluation fueled by operating a fixed exchange rate mechanism, that is not backed by liquidity, is contributing immensely to both cost-push and demand-pull buffers for inflation.
“The second factor driving inflation upwards is the refusal of the Central Bank to rein in its continuous violation of ways and means of lending to the Federal Government as a means to cover for budget deficits”, he added.