Ahead of next month’s presidential election, Nairametrics decided to look at Nigeria’s past and present presidents based on inflation rates during their administrations.
One of the major macroeconomic problems that has plagued Nigeria over the years is the rising cost of goods and services, along with other socioeconomic stagnations. The level of inflation in the country is often used as a metric to evaluate the performance of an administration, since inflation affects all members of society.
Over the years, inflationary pressure in Nigeria has been linked to food insecurity, exchange rate depreciation, and oil price volatility, among others. Yet despite changes in leadership, policies, and fiscal direction, high inflation has not abated.
Previous presidents and their administrations: Nigeria launched its fourth republic in 1999, after several attempts to restore democracy to the country, which had failed due to a military coup and a junta. However, since the beginning of the fourth republic, Nigeria has maintained democracy for almost 24 years.
- Since the inception of today’s democracy, Nigeria has had four democratically elected presidents between 1999 and the present.
- Specifically, Olusegun Obasanjo ruled between June 1999 and May 2007. Meanwhile, Musa Yar’Adua followed him for a brief period between June 2007 and April 2010.
- Ebele Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Nigeria’s president on May 6, 2010, after Yar’Adua’s death, and remained in charge of the matter until May 2015, before losing the election to the current president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria is now expected to have another president, who will determine the direction of the Nigerian economy for the next four years, at a time when the economy is beset by high inflation, slow economic growth, rising unemployment, insecurity, depreciation of the exchange rate, enormous intellectual flight, high interest rates, among others.
Below is a highlight of previous Nigerian Presidents and the level of inflation recorded during their administration, with attention to the entry and exit rate.
Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007) – 12.3%
Between June 1999 and May 2007, Nigeria recorded an average inflation rate of 12.3%, with an entry rate of 8.28% and a closing rate of 4.64% in May 2007.
- During Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight years, Nigeria recorded its highest rate of inflation in August 2005, after the consumer price index rose 28.21%, before moderating again to single digits.
- During his term as president, Obasanjo introduced the N100, N200, N500 and N1000 denominations of local currency into the economy, which is argued to have fueled inflationary pressure.
- Meanwhile, the Obasanjo administration was beset by high foreign debts, rising levels of poverty, and ethnic crises. The accumulated inflation rate during the period stood at 143.5%, as the CPI increased from 31 to 75.4 index points.
- Along the same lines, his administration coincided with the Great Global Recession, which affected the global financial market and led to several job losses and economic downturns.
Musa Yar’Adua (2007 – 2010) – 11%
During Musa Yar’Adua’s administration between 2007 and 2010, Nigeria recorded an average inflation rate of 11%. The late president took office in May 2007 following inflation of 4.64%, but he saw inflationary pressure rise to 15.04% before he died.
- However, his administration was marred by widespread insecurity in the Niger Delta and insurgency in the country’s northern regions, bringing the nation nearly to its knees, with several reported cases of kidnappings of foreign expatriates in the south. and mass murder in the north.
- The highest rate during his administration was registered in February 2010 with 15.65%. For its part, the inflation rate accumulated during the period was 40.3%, since the consumer price index closed at 105.7 index points in April 2010.
Good luck Jonathan (2010 – 2015) – 10.22%
Good luck, Ebele Jonathan inherited a high inflation rate from his predecessor, where he also played the role of vice. However, during his six years as president of the largest African economy, an average inflation rate of 10.22% was recorded.
- His entry rate was 15.04%, but decreased to 9% at the end of his tenure while operating in similar macro and socioeconomic conditions as his predecessor.
- During the period, Nigeria also suffered mass killings in the north by the insurgent group Boko Haram, albeit with a decline in militant activities in the Niger Delta region, thanks to the Amnesty Program established by the previous administration.
- In the Goodluck Jonathan period, the cumulative inflation rate stood at 62.3%. The CPI closed at 171.6 index points as of May 2015.
Muhammadu Buhari (2015 – 2022) – 14.52%
Nigeria experienced an average inflation rate of 14.52% between June 2015 and December 2022, recording a 17-year high of 21.34% in November 2022, during a period characterized by high food prices, restrictions on movement, fall in oil prices as an eventual increase in oil. prices, high currency in circulation, great arbitrage in the foreign exchange market, among others.
- The crude oil crisis in 2016, along with the CBN’s transition from fixed currency to flexible currency, also had a significant impact on Nigeria’s inflation figures, effectively pushing the rate into double digits, which has been maintained up to now.
- Buhari inherited an economy that suffered from an inflation rate of 9%, but currently lags behind a nearly 17-year high of 21.34% recorded in December 2022.
- During this administration, the CBN has raised the policy rate several times to control rising cost of goods, which has proven less effective as cost-driven inflation is devastating the economy and crippling the profitability of the companies.
- So far, the cumulative inflation rate between May 2015 and December 2022 stood at 191% with the CPI currently at 499.4 index points.
Finally: According to analysis by Nairalytics, the research arm of Nairametrics, the current administration of Muhammadu Buhari has recorded the highest average inflation rate. This is contrary to the assertion of Festus Keyamo, the spokesman for the presidential campaign council of the Congress of All Progressives, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
- Festus Keyamo during an interview on Arise TV stated that Nigeria recorded its worst inflation under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
- However, the findings show that the current administration with an average inflation rate of 14.52% is the highest compared to other previous presidents, however, it is followed by the Obasanjo regime with an average rate of 12.3%.
- It is also worth noting that in terms of annual rate, the highest since the fourth republic was recorded in 2001 during Obasanjo’s tenure.