High inflation: Buhari’s govt reacts to Guardian report

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The Muhammadu Buhari administration has rejected a newspaper report that blamed its policies for record-high inflation in the country.

In the Guardian report of Tuesday, it was said that Buhari, who leaves office on May 29, would “leave behind an inflation rate of 22.22 per cent (the highest in about 17 years), which is well over double of the level he met in 2015”.

The newspaper hinged its assertion on the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’s consumer price index (CPI) released on Monday, which shows headline inflation of 22.22 per cent.

In a reaction by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency said that the newspaper “is at its best when it comes to twisting politically sensitive facts to suit its preconceived notions”.

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“In one of its highest fallacies, the paper this morning is tying the rise of inflation to its 17-year high to the person of the President, Muhammadu Buhari who leaves office in exactly two weeks from this day.

“Anybody who promotes this kind of thinking is telling the whole world that they either don’t know what is happening all over the world or they are not paying attention to the facts.”

According to the presidency, this “stubbornly high inflation” is a world-wide problem and no nation is immune to it since the global economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presidency further said that inflation was boosted everywhere by the COVID-19 lockdowns with severe impact on national economies due to the dislocation of manufacturing and supply chains.

“This is what led to fewer goods and the rises in prices of those goods reaching the market.

“Considering that Nigeria relies heavily on imports for essential products like petroleum, cooking oils, fertilizers, crop chemicals, and others, international price fluctuations significantly impact local prices. The government, unless it chooses to disregard the principles of free trade, has limited maneuverability in this regard.

“France, which enjoyed a stable average inflationary regime of 4.1 percent from 1960-2022 is today “reporting price increases of up to 1,080.36%.

“At 10.1 percent, UK inflation is at a 41-year high. Ghana’s inflation rate had hit a two-decades high of 54.1 percent before a recent decrease.

“Turkey’s rate is 45 percent, Pakistan has also reported an alarming high inflation rate comparable to countries with similar profiles.

“The war in Ukraine meant a rocketing in foodstuff prices leading to fear of famine in many countries, never mind inflation!” the statement read.

The presidency noted that while Nigeria’s reported inflation rate of 22 percent is undoubtedly high and worrisome, it would be incorrect to suggest that the Buhari administration is not making efforts to address the volatile global cost of living crisis.

The presidency stressed that President Buhari has consistently prioritized efforts to control inflation and continues to do so.

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