Annual inflation in Nigeria rose for the eighth straight month in April, lifted by higher food prices, the statistics office said on Thursday, as measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus hindered economic activities and increased costs.
Inflation, a measure of living costs, climbed to 12.34% in April, its highest level in more than two years, from 12.26% the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
Food inflation, which accounts for the bulk of the inflation basket, rose at a much faster pace, to 15.03% in April, compared with 14.98% in March.
The statistics office attributed the rise in the food index to increases in the prices of potatoes, yams and other tubers, bread and cereals, fish, oils, fruits and vegetables. Food inflation has been in double digits for more than three years.
On Monday, the government said it would impose targeted lockdown measures in areas that report rapid increases in coronavirus cases, and that a phased reopening of the economy would go ahead more slowly than planned.
The measures have created bottlenecks for food and other deliveries, in a country where investment is needed in transport infrastructure.
So far, Nigeria has 6,677 confirmed coronavirus cases and 200 deaths.
The inflation data comes ahead of next week’s interest-rate meeting where the central bank will weigh inflationary risks and a weaker currency against an economy projected to shrink this year due to the oil price crash caused by the pandemic.
The naira has hit a series of lows on the black market, widening the gap with the official and over-the-counter spot markets, especially after dollar sales were suspended due to a coronavirus lockdown in April and a 15% devaluation in March.