In the middle of difficulties and challenges being faced by Nigerians, as a result of the scarcity of the redesigned Naira notes, the country’s inflation rate rose from 21.82% in January to 21.91% in February, making it the highest recorded rate in 18 years. This was shown in a data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The NBS said that looking at the trend, the February 2023 inflation rate showed an increase of 0.09 per cent points when compared to the January 2023 headline inflation rate.
On a year-on-year basis similarly, the headline inflation rate was 6.21% points higher compared to the rate recorded in February 2022, which was 15.70%. This shows that the headline inflation rate on year-on-year basis, which increased in February 2023 when compared to the same month in the preceding year of February 2022. According to the report, the recorded rise in food inflation was caused by an increase in bread and cereal, which was 21.67 per cent, actual and imputed rent at 7.74 per cent, potatoes, yam and other tubers at 6.06 per cent, vegetables at 5.44 per cent and meat, 4.78 per cent. “The rise in inflation rate is coming amid a cash crisis that has engulfed the country and subjected Nigerians to economic hardship for months, resulting from the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to redesign the N200, N500, and N1000 denomination notes, since the announcement of the naira swap policy in late 2022”, NBS stated.
During the time of the introduction of this policy, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in January, had claimed that the cashless and naira redesign policies introduced by the CBN would help moderate inflation, stabilise the exchange rate and strengthen the country’s currency value. “It is rather unfortunate that the bad implementation of the policy and its failure caused breakouts of protests and riots in many parts of the country and disrupted economic activities in major capital cities, where financial institutions experienced arson, severe disruptions of daily activities and vandalism. The shortage of cash has also crippled start-up companies, and has caused limited access to food items in the country, thereby causing a possible food scarcity if not curtailed”, it warned.