Nigeria plans to reweight inflation index

By bne IntelliNews April 8, 2014

Nigeria plans to reweight its inflation index to 2009 from 2004 to take into account the changing consumption patterns of the growing middle class with rising incomes, the head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale, said on Monday (April 7). Speaking at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit, Kale said that the rebasing exercise, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, will reflect the impact of non-food items on prices more accurately, as the middle class is spending more on capital goods like cars and less on food. It is aimed to “reflect the true macroeconomic picture of Nigeria,” Kale was quoted as saying by Reuters.

On Sunday (April 6), the NBS released the results of its GDP rebasing exercise, which boosted the West African country’s estimated gross domestic product for 2013 to NGN 80.3trn (USD 509.9bn) compared to NGN 42.3trn before the rebasing. Thus, Africa’s biggest oil exporter and most populous country surpassed South Africa as the biggest economy on the continent.

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate slowed to 7.7% in February from 8.0% in January, according to the latest available NBS data. The country’s inflation has remained at single-digit figures since January 2013. Volatile food prices account for about 60% of the consumer price basket. According to Kale, in addition to giving non-food prices more weight, the rebasing will also seek to measure the impact of a halving of gasoline subsidies by the government in 2009.

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