inflation hit 18.72% in January •Naira sinks further to N507/$ •Kerosene, bread, meat, fish,  others almost unaffordable LAGOS—Prices of bread, meat, fish, oil, yam and other essential commodities, last month, became increasingly unaffordable for Nigerians, as the inflation rate rose for the 15th consecutive month to 18.72 per cent. Driven principally by impact of Naira devaluation and increase in prices of petroleum products, prices of goods and services have been rising persistently since 2015, with the inflation rate, which measures rate of increase in prices, rising from 9.3 per cent in October 2015 to 18.55 in December 2016. For example, the price of 50 kilogrammes of Garri, rose by 285 per cent to N15, 000, last month, from N3, 900 in January last year. Similarly, 50 kilogrammes of beans that sold for N13, 500 in January 2016, rose by 33 per cent to N18, 000 last month. Also, price of 25 litres of Palm Oil rose  by 208 per cent to N17,500 , last month, from N6, 500 in January 2016. Pricesof foodstuffs Confirming this development in its Consumer Price Index report for January, 2017, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said prices of essential commodities rose at a faster pace in January pushing up the inflation rate to 18.72 per cent. The bureau said: “The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, increased by 18.72 per cent (year-on-year) in January 2017, 0.17 perc entage points higher from the rate recorded in December 2016 (18.55) per cent. Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yield the Headline Index. “Communication, Restaurants and Hotels again recorded the slowest pace of growth in January, growing at 5.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent (year-on-year) respectively. “However, the faster pace of growth in headline inflation, year on year, were bread and cereals, meat, fish, oil and fats; potatoes, yam and other tubers; wine and spirits, clothing materials and accessories, electricity, cooking gas, liquid and solid fuels, motor cars and maintenance, vehicle spare parts, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, passenger transport by road. “On a month on month basis, headline inflation was driven by

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