The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed plans to reweigh Nigeria’s inflation index by the end of this year. The inflation index year was 2004 and it would now be moved to 2009. The purpose is to arrive at figures which would provide more accurate measurements and a more precise reflection of the impact of non-food items on prices.
A renewed awareness of the need for more recent and more accurate data has been propelling the Federal and various State governments towards updating and expanding data. A few days ago, Sunday, April 6, 2014, Nigeria announced its newly rebased GDP. The initial GDP base year was 1990 and has now been moved forward to 2010.
It was the first time the country’ GDP was rebased in 24 years, valuing it at $509.9 billion and moving the country’s GDP ahead of the GDP of South Africa. Nonetheless, Nigeria’s GDP per capita falls behind South Africa’s which has a smaller population and better infrastructure. Rebasing the GDP helps the country capture the changes that have occurred in the economy over the years – the explosion of mobile telephone, the internet and mobile internet, the entertainment industry and so on.
Rebasing the GDP or re-weighing the inflation index does not directly improve the people’s income or lives, in fact the new GDP figures has initiated a move towards increasing taxes.
In the past five years the inflation rate has been stable and Nigeria has seen single-digit inflation for the first time in five years due to a tight monetary policy and somewhat tamer food prices.
The statistician of the Federation, Mr. Yemi Kale spoke at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit, and said reweighing the inflation index was also to capture the true picture of the country’s growing middle class with rising incomes.