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IMF queries NBS data on inflation rate, says it’s ‘severely outdated’



The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has queried the procedure used by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to collate the monthly consumer price index (CPI).

IMF said the data used by the NBS was “severely outdated”, a statement in its report titled ‘Nigeria: 2022 Article IV Consultation’, for the period of January and obtained on Tuesday, reads.

This comes after NBS stated that Nigeria’s inflation rate soared to 21.82 per cent, surpassing the 21.34 per cent the bureau reported for the month of December 2022.

According to the IMF, it was revealed that the NBS was still using a basket index from the 2003/2004 National Consumer Expenditure Survey.

The global body suggested that the bureau should switch to the 2018 National Household Livings Standards to reflect current realities.

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“The official monthly consumer price index (CPI), a composite of urban and rural price data, is available on a timely basis. However, the index weights and baskets are based on expenditures derived from the 2003/04 National Consumer Expenditure Survey. The weights are severely outdated and are not representative of current expenditure patterns. Outdated weights can introduce a bias into the index.

“The update of the CPI—using new weights from the 2018 National Household Livings Standards Survey—is still ongoing. The compilation of an updated producer price index is ongoing but funding for the survey is uncertain. AFW2 plans to provide additional technical assistance to support the CPI update and improvements to Nigeria’s price statistics.”

Aside from IMF, other economic experts have publicly criticised the basket index used by the NBS to calculate the inflation figures.

The Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane, and a professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University, Professor Steve Hanke, have said the inflation rate released by the NBS doesn’t reflect the realities faced by Nigerians.

Hanke, in September 2022, had stated that Nigeria’s inflation rate is at 52 per cent, above the 20.8 per cent the NBS released.

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