According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, as of October 2019, the headline inflation stood at 11.61% denoting a slight increase as compared to the 11.24% in the previous month.
The minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said that inflation rose due to an increase in food prices arising from the land border closure.
She said, " the slight increase in this inflation between September and October is due to food inflation. The food inflation relates to the prices of cereals, rice, and fish.
However, the minister stated that the closure of the border was a short and temporary measure adopted by the FG to protect the economy against trade malpractice such smuggling of goods but she insisted that the border will remain closed until the Government demand is met by neighboring countries.
She said, " we are still discussing with our neighbors to ensure that we all respect our trade protocols, especially now that the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement is coming into effect.
"What we are doing is important for our economy, we signed up to the ACFTA; we have to make sure that we put in place checks to make sure that our economy will not be overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the ACFTA.
"That is why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we all committed to" the minister added.
The plan to keep the border close implies that there may be an extension to the January, 31 deadlines to reopen the border.
WHO SUFFERS, WHO GAINS?
As at present, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria and Poultry Farmers are happy due to high turnover as a result of increasing demand for their products.
The border closure also helps the government to raise revenue. Goods that were hitherto smuggled are brought to the open and duties are collected on them.
As good as it may look, the masses who consume the locally made foodstuff still suffer the high increase in prices of such goods.
Drawing inferences from the above, the masses are bearing the burden of this temporary measure adopted by the government.
However, in the long run, this will be advantageous to all but what becomes of the masses who are currently going through this hardship. Currently, no provision whatsoever is readily made by the government to protect the citizens from the hike in prices of this foodstuff.
Does it mean that the citizens will continue to suffer the inflation as long as the border remains closed or the government will come up with a solution to curb this problem?