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No, president Bola Tinubu didn’t inherit Nigeria’s highest inflation rate in 20 years

As Tinubu marked 100 days in office, local and international media took stock of his administration’s achievements. But a German publication’s claim that Tinubu inherited the highest inflation level in two decades from his predecessor is not accurate.

This article is more than 7 months old

Nigeria’s president Bola Tinubu took office on 29 May 2023 and celebrated 100 days in power in the first week of September. Many have criticised his decisions and policies while others have cheered or blamed the previous administration for some of the country’s problems.

Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcaster, published a report on 6 September to mark Tinubu’s first 100 days in office. The report highlights the inherited and new crises facing the administration and people’s assessment of its performance so far. 

“Tinubu inherited a range of challenges from his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari: high unemployment, inflation at the highest level in 20 years, record debt, widespread insecurity and massive oil theft draining national revenue,” the report reads

These descriptions of the state of the country have been highlighted in several other media reports. However, was Nigeria’s inflation at the highest level in twenty years in May when Tinubu took office?

Highest inflation rate in 18 not 20 years

In June, Africa Check investigated similar claims on the inflation rate Buhari left behind, made in reports published by the British Broadcasting Corporation on the transition of power from Buhari to Tinubu. 

One of the claims was that Buhari left a record inflation rate of 22%. We rated the claim incorrect because we found higher inflation rates in the past two decades. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has records of monthly inflation rates from January 2003 to July 2023. 

The data shows that in May 2023, when Tinubu took office, Nigeria’s inflation rate was 22.41%. 

It also shows that the highest inflation rate in the period from January 2003 to July 2023 was in August 2005 when it was 28.2%

Inflation rates above the May 2023 level of 22.41% have been recorded for seven months between 2003 and 2005.

The inflation rate has continued to rise under Tinubu. In July 2023, it was 24.08%

But the claim that Tinubu inherited inflation at the highest level in 20 years is incorrect.

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