The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that the country’s inflation rate which stood at 12.82 per cent in July may rise up to 14.15 per cent by the end of December 2020 as the Federal Government’s deficit rises due to current economic challenges in the country.

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CBN made the disclosure on Friday in its report titled ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.

It stated that fiscal and monetary policy responses were put in place to neutralise the adverse effects on growth-inducing sectors of the economy, to lessen the impact of slow economic activities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report read, “Although these measures are commendable, there are headwinds that may undermine these expectations.

“These include increased Federal Government deficits, which may narrow fiscal space and crowd-out private investment; underutilisation in the labour market due to weakened aggregate demand and a build-up in inflationary pressures resulting from the increase in Value Added Tax and border protection.”

It added, “Specifically, headline inflation is expected to hover around 13.97 and 14.15 per cent at end-December 2020, owing to supply shocks which may likely happen due to decline in economic activities, globally as a result of COVID-19 pandemic that started in China in Q4:2019; demand shocks emanating from domestic and international lockdowns; food supply shocks associated with non-tariff border protection and effect of the implementation of the new budget and minimum wage.”

The CBN stated that in 2020/2021, the primary objective of monetary policy remained the maintenance of price and financial system stability.

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The CBN added that in 2020, it would continue to sustain measures to abate the level of rising inflation through effective liquidity management measures.

It stated that the aim was to curtail the level of inflation to a level that was conducive for inclusive and sustainable growth.

The report added, “The bank shall continue to be proactive in its oversight function of the banking system to continue to ensure financial system stability.

“Furthermore, it will maintain sound, stable and efficient payment systems to support the conduct of monetary policy.”

It said the monetary targeting framework remained the monetary policy strategy in 2020/2021 fiscal year with implicit inflation targeting.

Consequently, it added, the growth in broad money supply (M3) would be closely monitored in line with the projections for 2020 and 2021.