By Bassey Udo
The operational independence by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to produce and release data based on the socio-economic reality on ground without any government interference enabled the agency to ensure reliable, timely and consistent statistics with integrity, the Statician-General of the Federation, Simon Harry, has said.
The statistics agency’s CEO spoke in Abuja on Monday at the media event to review the achievements of the NBS in 2021 and plans for 2022.
Harry said one of the biggest achievements of the Bureau for 2021 was the timely and consistent release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) Report, which measures the rate of inflation in the country.
Unlike in the previous editions of the publications, he said the December CPI was being released on the 17th day of the succeeding month since the usual schedule of 15th required by law fell on a weekend.
He assured that the NBS was determined to sustain the timely releases of all relevant statistical information, adding that this was key, as the fundamental dimensions of data quality entails that the Bureau promoted the principles of validity, reliability, precision, integrity, timeliness.
Apart from reliability and timeliness of available data for informed policy-making process in both public and private sectors of the nation’s economy, the NBS boss said the statistics agency was also committed to data production processes, including the methodologies, concepts and definitions were properly understood and the results are accurately reported to the general public.
The construction of the CPI, he explained, combined economic theory, sampling and other statistical techniques using data from surveys and censuses and other sources to produce a weighted measure of average price changes within the Nigerian economy.
Key in the construction of the price index, he noted, was the selection of the market basket of goods and services.
He said each month, about 10,534 informants spread across the country to gather information required to provide price data for the computation of the CPI, including market items comprising 740 goods and services regularly priced.
The first stage in the calculation of the CPI, Harry said, was the collection of prices on each of the 740 goods and services from outlets in each sector (rural or urban) for each state.
Then, prices, he said, are averaged for each item per sector across the state, with using the average price to calculate the basic index for each commodity as the next step.
Comparing the current year’s price of each commodity with a base year’s price to obtain an aggregated index for each category provided a means of comparing consumers market basket of goods and services cost against the same market basket of goods and services in the previous month or year.
In line with the provision of the Statistics Act, 2007, he said government has over the years respected the operational independence of NBS to produce data and release them without any interference.
The independence, the Statician-General said, has, indeed, enabled the Bureau to produce statistics with integrity and in line with reality on ground.
“For this reason, NBS releases to the public accurate, timely and unbiased data on a regular basis in an unprecedented manner.
“It is pertinent to note that data collected through regular surveys and censuses as well as via system of administrative statistics around the country present a vital source of evidence, as they provide the nation with clear, objective, numerical data on all aspects of lives, and indeed the state of the economy.
“With this professional autonomy, I can assure Nigerians that NBS would continue to publish accurate and timely data, as well as seek more efficient and innovative ways of producing useful information to guide government policy, and serve as a tool for the public to monitor the performance of government for the overall growth and development of the nation’s economy,” he said.
On Nigeria’s inflation rate, the NBS said a consecutive decline in the year-on-year headline rate for eight months, from April 2021 shows an overall average of 17.02 percent.
In April, the inflation rate was 18.12 percent; May, 17.93 percent; June, 17.75 percent; July, 17.38 percent; August, 17.01 percent; September, 16.63 percent; October, 15.99 percent, and November, 15.40 percent.
Regardless, Harry said trend in the last eight months was broken by the slight increase in December 2021 to 15.63 percent, from 15.40 percent in November, 2021 (year-on-year), was the headline inflation rate for all items for the period.
Although he described the movement as a decline, when compared to the rate of 15.75 percent corresponding month in 2020, Harry said this clearly showed an increase from 15.40 percent recorded in November, 2021 to 15.63 percent in December, 2021.
This is about 0.23 percent points higher than the rate recorded in November, 2021.
The change in the declining trend for about eight months, he said, might have been caused by the increase in prices of goods and services as a result of increase in their demand during the month under review, being a festive season.
On month-on-month basis, the NBS said Headline index increased by 1.82 percent in December 2021, which is about 0.74 percent rate higher than the rate recorded in November 2021, which was 1.08 percent.
Also, the NBS sais Urban inflation rate increased to 16.17 percent (year-on-year) in December, 2021 from 16.33 percent recorded in December 2020, down by 0.16 percent points, while the rural inflation rate increased to 15.11 percent in December, 2021 from 15.20 percent in December 2020, lower by 0.09 percent points.
On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose to 1.87 percent in December 2021, which was higher by 0.75 percent points of the rate recorded in November 2021, which was 1.12 percent, while the rural index also rose to 1.77 percent in December, 2021, higher by 0.73 percent points of the rate that was recorded in November 2021, which was 1.04 percent.
The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index was 17.52 percent in December, 2021. This is lower than the rate reported in November of the same year, which was 17.55 percent, while the corresponding 12-month (month-on-month) average percentage change for rural index inflation rate in December, 2021 stood at 16.40 percent, from 16.42 percent in November, 2021.
Similarly, the composite food sub-index rose to 17.37 percent in December, 2021 which was lower by 2.19 percent points when compared to 19.56 percent in December, 2020.
This rise in the food sub-index, the NBS said, was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Food product not elsewhere classified (n.e.c), Meat, Fish, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, Soft drinks and fruit.
On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased to 2.19 percent in December, 2021, higher by 1.12 percent points from 1.07 percent recorded in November, 2021.
The ‘’All items less farm produce’’ or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.87 percent in December, 2021, which was higher by 2.50 percent when compared with 11.37 percent recorded in December, 2020.
On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased to 1.12 percent in December, 2021 was lower by 0.13 percent when compared with 1.26 percent recorded in November, 2021.
The highest increases were recorded in prices of Gas, Liquid fuel, Wine, Actual and imputed rentals for housing, Narcotics, Tobacco, Spirit, Cleaning, repair and hire of clothing, Garments, Shoes and other foot wear and Clothing materials, other articles of clothing and clothing accessories.
Details of the report, the NBS said showed that Headline Inflation for December 2021 was 15.63 percent, against the figure i November of 15.40 percent.
Also, Core Inflation for December 2021 stood at about 13.87 percent, while that of November 2021 was 13.85 percent; Food Inflation for December was about 17.37 percent, while 17.21 percent recorded for the corresponding month of November, 2021.
Urban Inflation for December was 16.17 percent, while November recorded 15.92%. On the other hand, Rural Inflation was 15.11 percent and 14.89 percent in December and November, 2021 respectively.
On State–by–State comparison, all items was highest in Ebonyi State with 18.71 percent, while Kwara State recorded the lowest rate with 12.32 percent.
On the other hand, food inflation was highest in Kogi State with 22.82 percent, while Edo State was the lowest with 13.24 percent.