There is no clear evidence in price changes of goods and services in Nigeria as reported in the March Consumer Price Index (CPI), a Statistician, Dr Olatunji Arowolo, says
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had on April 16 said the CPI, which measures inflation decreased from 11.31 to 11.25 per cent (year-on-year) in March, 2019.
Arowolo, a lecturer at the Statistics Department, Lagos State Polytechnic, said that there was no evidence in price changes in goods and services, especially between February and March, 2019.
According to him, the 0.06 per cent change shows the rate at which prices of goods and services increase from year- to –year, slowdown in March, 2019.
“There is still inflation, but the rate at which it is increasing has reduced between last year March to this year March.
“A simple way of confirming if the computation is correct is to know the prices of items in the food basket in March 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“The average difference between 2019 and 2018 should be less than 2018 and 2017. That is, 2019-2018 is lower than 2018-2017.
“I don’t have the figures but I think other bodies should serve as auditing bodies to check the figures of NBS; these bodies could be governmental or non-governmental.
“They will also collect their data and do the same analysis exactly as NBS so that the results can be compared.’’
Arowolo said without auditing body, whatsoever NBS reported would be assumed right, “even if it is wrong.“
“NBS summary is the only information available, so I cannot completely say I agree or not, except if some summaries are also reported with it.
“For instance, monthly or yearly or moving average of prices of goods and services; just the way stock prices are reported.
“Apart from reporting index, we can as well report significant change in prices of some very important items in the food basket.
“For instance, if price of a bag of rice moves from N7,000 to N18,000 from one month to another, this will definitely affect the CPI value.
“So, this significant change should be reported alongside the CPI, to show reason for the increase or decrease in value,’’ he said.
According to him, food basket in CPI is the item considered, for instance rice, garri, salt, palm oil, among others in the computation of the index number.
The moving average, he said could be affected by the entry month; March 2019 and the leaving month, March 2018.
“The NBS report will be correct if the right data on the food basket are correct.
“It will be right if the items included in the food basket are general goods and services consumed by the rich and the poor,’’ he said.