THE IMPACT OF INFLATION ON COST OF LIVING IN NIGERIA (1982-2012)
Inflation is an inevitable property of any economy in the world. It influences every country, negatively as well as positively, whether it is developed or developing country as well. Anyanwu (2011) stated that inflation is an important factor leading to social and economic instability and disorder. It is one of the most largely observed and tested economic variables both theoretically and empirically. Its causes, impacts on other economic variables, and cost to the overall economy are well known and understood. Nigeria, being a developing country, could not overcome the continuously year to year climbing up inflation, and also its causes and consequences.
After remaining relatively low for quite a long time, the inflation rate in Nigeria started to accelerate in late 2003 . The role of money supply appears significant in influencing food price inflation in Nigeria (Anyanwu, 2011).which disturbed family budget as well as consumer's purchasing power. People struggled in order to maintain their living standard but it slumped down gradually. Many authors have written on the impacts of inflation and cost of living on the Nigerian economy, but the authors have different views, nevertheless, one common thing is that all the authors agree that inflation and cost of living have various impacts on the economy of Nigeria.
The problem created by the rising prices of goods and services leading to higer cost of living has become too difficult for the government to solve. During inflationary period, fixed amounts of money buy less quantity of goods and services. The real value of money is drastically reduced i.e the purchasing power of consumers are reduced.
To attain sustainable economic growth coupled with price stability continues to be the central objective of macroeconomic policies for most countries in the world today. Among others the emphasis given to price stability in conduct of monetary policy is with a view to promoting sustainable economic growth as well as strengthening the purchasing power of the domestic currency (Umaru and Zubairu, 2012). The question on whether or not inflation is harmful to economic growth has recently been a subject of intense debate to policy makers and macro economists. Several studies have estimated a negative relationship between inflation and economic growth. Specifically the bone of contention is that whether inflation is necessary for economic growth or it is detrimental to growth. Basically the rate of economic growth depends primarily on the rate of capital formation and the rate of capital formation depends on the rate of savings and investment (Datta and Kumar, 2011). World economic growth and inflation rates have been fluctuating. Likewise, inflation rates have been dominating to compare with growth rates in virtually many years (Madhukar and Nagarjuna, 2011) and relationship between inflation and the economic growth continued to be one of the most macroeconomic problems. Similarly, Ahmed (2010) maintains that this relationship has been argued in various economic literatures and these arguments shown differences in relation with the condition of world economy order. In accordance with these policies, increases in the total demand caused increases in production and inflation too. However, inflation was not regarded as a problem in that period rather considered as a positive impact on the economic growth which was widely accepted. Amid these views, Phillips first introduced hypothesizes that high inflation positively affects the economic growth by lowering unemployment rates.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As far as Nigeria concerns regarding inflationary effects it has been experienced worst consequences reflected by poverty, food crises, price hike etc. Mahmood, Hafeez and Rasheed
(2009) concluded that inflation causes poverty. Day to day increase in prices of commodities especially of non-food items like oil and gas snatch money from savings of consumers and uncertainty of prices, both food and non-food items, generate enthusiasm among people toward earn more and more therefore, people prefer to work over recreation underestimating their Health.
Over work and lack of recreation make them vulnerable particularly of middle class people and they almost fall into lower class. Although, over time work bless money but it causes exertion and lethargic body that charge more expense on health instead upper class people hardly encounter any problem to inflation.
Muoghalu, et.al. (2010) found that the inflation brings negative impact while exports and investment brings positive impact on Nigeria economy and suggested that we should encourage a larger scale of export promotion activities to enhance the economic growth. It will create numerous job opportunities which increase the per-capita earnings and standard of living.