- As FG supports states with N1.9trn
By Etuka Sunday and Lawrence Olaoye Abuja
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria’s inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped from 14.33 in February to 13.34 per cent in March year-on-year.
NBS in its CPI report released yesterday in Abuja said, 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 percent 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 percent in March 2018, up by 0.05 percent 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 percent.
It indicated that the figures were 0.33 percent lower from 15.93 percent recorded in February.
The report, however, stated that urban inflation rate eased by 13.75 percent (year-on-year) in March from 14.76 percent recorded in February, while the Rural inflation rate also eased by 12.99 percent in March from 13.96 percent in February.
According to the report, the Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 percent (year on year) in March 2018, down from the rate recorded in February (17.59 percent).
The NBS report said, “All Items less Farm Produce or Core inflation, which excluded the prices of volatile agricultural produce, rose by 11.2 percent in March, down by 0.5 percent points from the rate recorded in February (11.7 percent).”
Analysts predicted 12% inflation rate before the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) can reduce the interest rate since it is better for the economy that the inflation rate is lower that the interest rate.
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that the federal government has so far supported the thirty-state governors with a total sum of N1.9 trillion regardless of party affiliations.
Osinbajo made the disclosure yesterday in his remarks at the launch of Aviation state Tele-health support centre in Umuahia, Abia State.
Osinbajo said, “This commitment has meant two things. First; is President Buhari’s determination to break from the past where the Federal government only supported States where the party in office was their own.
“At the inauguration of the NEC in 2015, he publicly declared that our own NEC will assist every State because poverty in our nation is no respecter of ethnic group, religion or party affiliation. Consequently, as of today, the Federal government has supported States without discrimination along party lines to the tune of N1.91 trillion.
“Let me take this opportunity to assure the Governor, the Government and people of Abia State of our unwavering commitment as the FG, to partnering and collaborating with you on any and all programmes intended to make life better and easier for Nigerians. We will certainly continue to look for opportunities like this to work with and support you and other State Governments.”
He added that the Federal government has prioritized social and economic policies and programmes that will bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number of our people.
“We have examples of these in our Social Investment Programmes. Today we are feeding 7.5 million children in our Homegrown School Feeding Programme in 22 States. We have employed 200,000 graduates in our N-Power scheme, 300,000 more are waiting to be formally engaged. Every single local government in Nigeria is covered. We are giving loans to over 300,000 traders and artisans, and we are giving N5,000 monthly to over 300,000 of the poorest families across the States, all without discrimination along party lines.
“Here in Abia, we have 3,262 beneficiaries of the N-Power with another 8,023 to come on board shortly.
“We are feeding 125,624 pupils in 742 schools and we have 1,569 cooks in total. For microcredit loans under our GEEP scheme, we have given loans to 7585 small businesses. (so far we have invested about N2,395,585,900(about N2.4b) in SIP funds in Abia State) and specifically in healthcare we have the Saving One Million Lives Initiative, which has made available 1.5 Million USD to each state government – including Abia State – to improve the quality of basic healthcare available especially to our women and children.
“Let me say that the FG’s plan for the nation is Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians. Health insurance is the most effective way of ensuring access to healthcare when needed and at the same time funding our healthcare system, and ensuring that healthcare personnel are well rewarded.”