Nigeria’s annual inflation slowed in August for a fifth straight month to 17.01 per cent after the rate at which food prices increased fell, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

The announcement comes ahead of Friday’s meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s monetary policy committee which will decide on the benchmark lending rate.

The headline inflation fell from 17.38 per cent recorded in July, while food price inflation, its major component, slowed in August to 20.30 per cent.

Core inflation, which excludes prices of food, fell to 13.41 per cent.

Nigeria’s inflation has been in double digits since 2016, but became worse with border closure, COVID-19 crisis, insecurity, and repeated devaluation of naira. It reached its highest in years in March.

“The rise in the food index was caused by an increase in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oil and fats,” the NBS said in the monthly report.

The Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, said on Tuesday the declining inflationary trend reflected measures implemented by the government, Reuters reported.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s food prices soar as inflation falls again

Mr Emefiele said he expected the pace of inflation to fall further as Nigeria approached the harvest season.

The CBN has held the policy rate at 11.5 per cent since September in a bid to maintain a balance between boosting growth and ensuring price stability.

The economy grew by five per cent in the second quarter, according the NBS, making it unlikely the bamk will change the rates on Friday.

The CBN wants the country’s inflation to be between six and nine per cent.

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