Christmas is coming at the worst possible time for millions of Nigerians

Not for everyone.
Not for everyone.
Image: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
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It’s been a difficult economic calendar year for many Nigerians and things look like they’ll get worse in the run-up to the big shopping Christmas season.

After a year that has seen Africa’s largest economy slip into its first recession in decades, data from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows inflation has risen for the 12th consecutive month to 18.3%—an 11 year high.

The record high inflation rate is compounded by Nigeria’s slowing economy and high unemployment rates. All the right ingredients for a classic case of stagflation.

Nigeria’s problems are tied to the government’s falling revenues for much of the past year. The low price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, has triggered a foreign exchange crisis which drove up costs for businesses which depend on imported items and raw materials.

The lingering situation poses a problem for millions of Nigerians with the coming festive season and there is precedent. During sallah celebrations in September, sellers reported a sharp dip in sales. Still, things could get worse. “It seems as if inflation hasn’t reached its peak,” Ogho Okiti, an economist, told Bloomberg. “We may see it approaching 19 percent before the end of this year.”