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Report: Naira depreciation makes Lagos, Abuja cheapest global cities for expatriates to reside - THE CABLE

JUNE 18, 2024

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, and Abuja, the nation’s capital, have been listed as the cheapest cities in the world for international workers to live in.

The naira currency depreciation is responsible for the lower costs of living of international assignees in Abuja and Lagos, according to the 2024 Mercer cost of living survey released Monday.

The naira began to tumble last year shortly after President Bola Tinubu introduced reforms, jettisoning the years-long peg instituted by Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that had kept the currency artificially high.

On Saturday, the inflation rate rose to 33.95 percent as prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages continued to surge.

Headline inflation drivers showed food and non-alcoholic beverages led with 17.59 percent.

Following closely are housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels with 5.68 percent.

Others are clothing and footwear at 2.60 percent, transport at 2.21 percent, with furnishings, household equipment, and maintenance completing the list at 1.71 percent.

The Mercer survey said Lagos and Abuja recorded the most significant decreases in the cost of living rankings across 226 global cities between 2023 and 2024.

Last year, Lagos was the 47th most expensive city to live in, while Abuja was ranked 140th. Islamabad in Pakistan ranked low as Abuja and Lagos in the survey.

According to the latest data, Lagos fell 173 spots to take the 225th position, with Abuja coming behind at 226.

“Currency devaluations have been a significant driver of these decreases,” the survey said.

“The currency-induced falls in the cost of living for international assignees have happened even though inflation in many of these countries has risen. For example, between March 2023 and March 2024, the inflation rate increased to more than 20% for both Nigeria and Angola.”

Of the 10 most expensive cities for international assignees, half are located in Western Europe, with Switzerland being home to four.

However, it is Southeast Asian cities that lead the list, with Hong Kong and Singapore being in the first and second positions, respectively.


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