Key questions this article answers:
  1. Nigeria’s statistical agency released its inflation report for August 2023. What happened to consumer prices within the month, and which sectors contributed the most to its performance? 
  2. Following months of questionable macroeconomic data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), how relatable are the August inflation figures to the average Nigerian?

Last month, we (Stears) called out a
trend of increasing divergence between macroeconomic data (specifically inflation rate) by Nigeria’s statistic agency and the reality on the ground for Nigerians.

Following bold reforms (fuel subsidy removal and FX market liberalisation) taken by newly elected President Bola Tinubu in June 2023—both with inflationary pressures, the subtle rise in Nigeria’s inflation rate suggested a muted impact of these policies. We emphasised the importance of data integrity and spotlighted the most apparent impact of the opaqueness in the accuracy of a nation’s data; it impedes proper planning and decision-making.

On the surface, it would seem the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has gotten its act right, as August’s inflation report released last week Friday revealed a 172 basis point (bps) jump in annual headline inflation to 25.80% versus 24.08% in July 2023. This is 530 bps higher than the 20.52% recorded in August 2022