Christmas celebration for Nigerian families in 2022 will be different as a result of the country’s struggle with the highest inflation in more than 17 years.
While there will be the traditional public holiday on December 25 and 26, many Christian families will celebrate with a modest meal, less decorations, and a lot of homemade cheer.
The National Bureau of Statistics’ last consumer price report announced that inflation rate in Nigeria accelerated for the 10th straight month to 21.47% in November of 2022, up from 21.09% in October.
November figure is not only above market estimates of 21.15%, it is the highest reading in more than 17 years.
It is even worst for food inflation, as it rose to 24.13% in November 2022, from 23.72% recorded in the previous month.
Also, in a recent FAO-WFP report on hunger hot spots and early warnings of acute food insecurity from October 2022 to January 2023, Nigeria was placed alongside five others on the highest alert level of countries already facing critical food insecurity.
States with the worst food inflation
In NBS report, five states ranked as the worsts state with high inflation rate for food and all other items.
For all items, the states with worst inflation rates are, Ebonyi (26.11%), Kogi (25.84%) Rivers (24.45%) Bayelsa (24.34%) Bauchi (24.15%) and Niger (24.04%).
For food inflation, the states with the worst rate are Kwara (29.74%) Kogi (29.51%), Ebonyi – 28.25, Imo (27.30%), Ondo (27.23%), and Bayelsa (27.13%).
How the inflation rate affects Christmas pot of jollof rice
Ripples Nigeria attempted to put a clear understanding on how stretched Nigerians would be this Christmas by analysing the items needed to prepare a pot of jollof rice as featured in the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) food price watch.
The ingredients used for analysis are rice, tomatoes, vegetable oil, palm oil, onions, meat, chicken, and beef.
According to NBS, the aforementioned items had increased cumulatively to N12,484.27, from N10,002.22 last year.
This represents an average increase for a pot of jollof by 24.81 percent in the last one year.
For example, one kilogram of imported rice to be consumed by a family of four was sold for an average of N553.23 in October of 2021. It has increased to N689.32 in October of 2022.
The local variant rose to N487.47, from the N415.03 it was sold a year ago
Similarly, one kilogramme of tomato, another important ingredient m, recorded a significant increase to N454.46, from N347.47 last year.
One kilogramme of onion bulb also increased from N306.07 in October 2021 to N405.72 in October 2022 while one bottle of vegetable oil rose from N825.46 last year to N1,106.08 in 2022.
Other changes in ingredients for a pot of jollof is captured in the chart below.
Bag of rice now more than salary of average Nigerian
To further understand how economically stretched Nigerians are for this Christmas, a visit to market in Lagos shows that a bag of rice now sells between N38,000 and N52,000, depending on the variant.
This is more than the minimum wage of an average Nigerian which is pegged at N30,000.
A broadcaster with AriseTV, Rufai Useni took to twitter to lament the high cost of rice, revealing that he bought at N52,000.
He, however, noted that the price varied in other locations with Asaba spotting prices around N48,000.
The sharp increase in price of rice was first mooted by Ade Adefeko, the vice-president of Olam Nigeria Limited.
In an interview with AriseTV, he noted that his company is one of the biggest distributors of rice across the country and that due to the flood that ravaged its rice farm in Nasarawa State, there would be scarcity.
He had said, “Well, what happened on October 2, I will tell you that 25 per cent of the crop for rice has been taken out. We should expect an increase in the prices of rice in December. Of course, that goes without saying because the entire crop has been lost.”
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