The nation’s inflation figure released by NBS showing a surge from 17.33% recorded in February to 18.17% in March as well as the rising cost of food are not surprising. NACCIMA on several occasions in recent past, has warned that the upward trajectory of inflation is what will happen if action is not taken to address underlining causes of the inflationary trends. Most significant in this regard is the issue of insecurity which is spreading across the country and its consequences on agricultural production especially by the small farm holders across the food belt of the nation; many of these farmers are either not able either to engage in active farming or evacuate their farm produce. The shortage of forex, depreciation in Exchange rate and huge import bill have also all combined to produce the upward inflationary trend we are witnessing. And steps must be taken by Government to arrest the trend. In all of these, perhaps most important is the issue of insecurity. Business and productive activities only thrive in a safe and secured environment. An enduring solution must therefore be found to the problems of banditry and other sources of insecurity across the country.
The current low productive capacities in various sectors of the economy have also been due to the recent massive power outages and consequential effect on electricity supply to homes and industries especially SMEs. There is therefore the need to expedite action on the energy component under the Economic Sustainability Plan as part of the strategic options designed to address the energy crisis.
To address food inflation there must be significant improvement in the area of road infrastructure to facilitate movement of farm produce and goods across the country. This is to strengthen the food supply chain and reduce cost of transportation from the farm to the market. More support should also be given to the SMEs in the agribusiness sector as they are important in the quest to ensure food security and combat food inflation. Movement of goods within the country should also not be disrupted by incessant roadblocks across our highways. Because this is another cause for the upsurge in inflation and price increases.
In summary urgent steps must be taken to arrest current inflationary trend if the nation is to build on the recent modest gains and achieve the projected 2.5% economic growth this year.