Nigerians Groan Over Rapid Escalation Of  Prices Of Foodstuff


LAGOS JANUARY 28TH (NEWSRANGERS)-There  are growing indications that Nigerians now find it difficult to survive following the persistent rise in the cost of foodstuffs and staple foods, Sunday Tribune has learnt.

Sunday Tribune investigation also found out that concerns have continued to mount nationwide as many traders are now struggling to continue to stay afloat following the high cost of living amid the rising prices of foodstuff.

Just this week, the prices of foodstuffs ranging from staples to provisions have increased by 15 to 25 percent. A 50kg bag of small grain polished rice formerly sold between N52,000 and N54,000 in the first week of January is now sold for between N59,000 and N60,000.

At the Oko Oba market in Lagos, a paint bucket of beans has increased from N3,200 to N3,800 within two weeks, while garri is currently sold at N1,800 per paint bucket as against N1,000 it was sold in early January. A pack of spaghetti has added N1,000, from N12,200 to N13,300 in the space of two weeks.

One of the retailers who patronise the market, Fadekemi Akinbami, complained that as of Friday, she had to leave the market without buying anything because of the hike in prices of foodstuffs, which is far above her budget.

She noted that the measured powdered milk she usually buys at N4,500 per paint bucket was sold at N7,000, an increase that was way above her budget.

“My customer even encouraged me to buy it like that because an increase in the prices of her stuff seems inevitable. She told me that she also has stopped buying in bulk for now because the changes in prices are not predictable and there are indications it will get costlier,” she said.

Another retailer, Adalemo Ebudola, also complained that she wasn’t prepared for the increase in prices of stuff. For her, she assumed things might get expensive by February ending towards the time of the Ramadan fast.

She explained, “I intend to restock my food supply in early February, but now with this unexplainable crazy increase, I plan to go to market on Monday to buy what I can because the body language in the market is that things will still get more expensive.”

Due to the persistent increase in prices of foodstuffs, some retailers have held out for the moment. Iya Ibeji, who usually hawks frozen fish, complained bitterly over the cost of her products, noting that she cannot afford to buy expensive goods and sell them at a loss.

“If I buy a quarter pack of Titus fish at N15,500, how much am I to sell one as I can only get six to seven pieces of fish in a quarter. For now, I’ve stopped selling until things become bearable or better,” she explained.

In Akure, Ondo State capital, a visit to the popular Ojaoba market indicated that most people now spend their income on foodstuffs, following indiscriminate increase in prices of food items that continue to leave consumers in disbelief.

Some of the traders blamed the price increase on the fuel hike and the incessant abductions which they claimed have turned many traders into victims of kidnappers.

Checks showed that the prices of beans, rice, yam, garri, onions, tomatoes, pepper, fish, vegetable oil, palm oil, flour, and others have gone up beyond what many consumers say they can afford.

A congo of garri is now sold between N600 and N900 depending on the quality of the product, while a congo of local and foreign rice is sold between N1,800 and N2,400.

White and brown beans is now for N1,600 and N1,900, a congo of yam flour is N1,200, a congo of pupuru is now N1,000, a kilo of wheat that sold for N500 is now N900, while a kilo of Semo sells for N1,200.

Spaghetti now sells for N700, a loaf of bread sells between N600 and N1500 depending on the size, an egg sells for N150, a piece of Titus fish is sold within the range of N1,300 and N1,800, a litre of groundnut oil is sold for N1,500 while palm oil sells for N1,100.

A mother of three, Bunmi Ige, said she can no longer afford to buy a half bag of rice as she used to because of the recent price hike. She told Sunday Tribune that she now buys her products in smaller quantities using congo measurements.

“Half a bag of rice lasts for three or four months but we cannot afford it any longer. We have resorted to local rice and at times, we snub rice for yam, but it is still costly. The price of bread that we depend on sometimes has increased,” she explained.

On her part, Mrs Laide Adelaja said the increase in the prices of staple food is just a ploy to frustrate both the poor and vulnerable in the country.

She said, “Things are costly now. I used to buy bags of rice and half a bag of beans and garri in the house, but these days, we can’t afford them any longer.

“We now take home what we see and eat. The situation is frustrating and saddening. Can you imagine common fermented locust bean of N5 now costs N100?”

She, however, blamed traders for the hike, adding that many business owners indiscriminately increased the prices of food items.

She thereafter called on the government to rescue of Nigerians by looking into the increase in the prices of essential commodities.

“We can’t continue to blame the increase on dollars. We are using naira here and not dollars. Why do we blame dollar on what we are producing here, why is the price of garri and yam flour something the common man cannot afford,” she added.

She also called on the Federal Government to find a way to ameliorate the suffering of the people and to put a stop to the increase in the price of fuel which has a resultant effect on the prices of food items.

Checks by Sunday Tribune showed that the current prices of food items in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital and its neighbouring towns are also on the rise.

A congo (plastic) garri is sold for N600, a congo of rice is sold for N1,700, a congo of beans (milk, oloyin, white) is sold for N1,200 while Indomie (super pack, hungry man size, and belleful) packs are sold for N250, N600 and N700 respectively.

Other items are Spaghetti – N700; tin of milk – N500/N550; congo of sugar – N2,800; tin of sugar – N350; bottled water – N150 and pet soft drink – N300.

Investigation by the Sunday Tribune revealed that rice, beans, guinea corn, maize, millet, garri, etc. in the Northern region are now beyond the reach of ordinary people.

When the Sunday Tribune visited the Kadaure market in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, a mudu of rice is now N1,200, N1,300 and N1,500 depending on the quality of the rice as against N800 and N900 it used to sell for.

A mudu of beans now sells for N1,300 as against N800, while guinea corn is now N1,000 as against N500.

The persistent hike in prices of foodstuffs, over time, has been attributed to the removal of fuel subsidy which has jerked up transport fare. Another factor is the increasing spate of insecurity that has continued to bedevil most parts of the region.

Nigeria Tribune

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