The recent National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on inflation (Core and food inflation) shows that there is an increase nationally from 14.23% in October to 14.89% n November 2020.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose by 14.23% (year-on-year) in October 2020 as against 13.71% recorded in September 2020.
The composite food index, a closely watched component rose by 17.38% in October 2020 compared to 16.66% recorded in September 2020. On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.96% in October 2020, up by 0.08% points from 1.88% recorded in September 2020.
The major drivers of food inflation were increases recorded in the prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Meat, Fish, Fruits, Vegetable, alcoholic and food beverages and Oils and Fats.
In terms of the food index, Edo State led the list with 21.65% followed by Zamfara (20.88%), Kogi (20.58%), Sokoto (20.5%), and Plateau State (20.26%) while Ondo State recorded the lowest inflation rate with 14.23% followed by Ogun, Lagos, Bauchi and Gombe with 14.47%, 14.57%, 14.85% and 14.88% respectively.
Some of the reasons for this increase include the rise in the cost of Petroluem Motor Spirit (PMS). But this does not tell the whole story as the rates are different from State to State.
WHY IS FOOD INFLATION RATE HIGH IN KOGI STATE?
With the claim by the Alhaji Yahaya Bello Government on the investment in Agriculture, coupled with the purported low insecurity in the State, it is worrisome that the cost of food in the state is spirally out of control.
A possible cause could be the vicious enforcement of tax collection across all sectors of the state economy. From education to Agriculture to Businesses, there seem to be a concerted effort at ensuring that every taxable entity is made pay up. The cost of transportation has doubled in the last 1 month due to the recent clamp down on Tricycle operators by a new entity in the state called “Federal Task Force”. Operators are made to pay up to 100% more than they usually pay, thus naturally the customer is made to bear the cost. This seemly simple action of Government has a knockdown effect on the cost of food as these tricycles are the main source of transportation for many of our farmers especially on market days.
The tax drive has also included our education sector where school fees of our pupils and students in private schools have gone up by N500 and authorities claim its due to tax from the Ministry of Education.
It is undeniable that government needs to expand its tax net to meet with its responsibilities, but the very fabric of existence for the citizens in the state is been torn apart with these arbitrary taxes especially in the Agriculture sector.
Kogi State has no business been in the top states with high food inflation considering our natural endowment in human and land.
There is need for the state government to take another look at these issues in order to reduce the suffering of the citizens through exorbitant food prices
We call on the State Government to look into the Ministry of Agriculture and The State Revenue Board, to immediately assess their activities in the enforcement of these arbitrary levies on smallholder farmers and transporters.
The Government needs to balance the need for more revenue and the poverty effect the increase in cost of living is having on its citizens