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Nigerians groan as food prices skyrocket

Nigerians, especially low-ranking civil servants and other low-income earners are groaning over skyrocketing food prices, amidst employment crises and stagnation of payment structures.

This is coming on the heels of a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the inflation rate had risen by 18.17 percent in March 2021, up from the 17.33 percent recorded in February 2021.

The NBS report had indicated that the food inflation rate rose by 22.95 per cent in March 2021 compared to 21.79 per cent in February 2021.

Traders in Abuja disclosed that there has been a price increase in food commodities since the last three months even though the price of rice has been stable to no increase since the last five months.

A provisions seller, Ahmadu Tijjani, told our correspondent that they were not given reasons for the hike in the price of some of the goods, stating that since food commodities are essential people would still buy even if they have to reduce their purchasing capacity.

According to Tijjani, there is a 20 per cent increase of a good formerly sold for N1, 000 while a 50cl Pack of Coca Cola 50cl has increased to N1700 from N1600
local measure of beans that previously sold for N500, N450 is now selling for N800, N650.

“The price of rice has been stable for the past five months so there is no increase in it but a carton of 12 grams Peak milk that we sold for N6500 is now N950 while a 2.6 litre of Power Oil has moved to 2600 from 3,000,” he said.

Musa Kana, a meat seller, blamed the increase in meat in the market to the rise of insecurity in some parts of the country pointing out that a kilo of meat sold for 1500 three months ago is now 2000 to 2500 depending on the bargaining power of the customer.

“Anytime we go to the market, we come back with whatever we can afford. A cow that we used to buy for N300, 000 is now N600, 000 while that of 250,000 is now N500, 000 or N450,000.”

“The commodities are not scarce but the problem is going to the market to get them due to the security situation in some parts of the country. We can’t go to states like Katsina and Sokoto where cows are cheap; we now source them Kano, Bauchi or Gombe State,” he said.

Prices of commodity is also in the increase in Lagos State as our correspondent observed that at Mangoro market, a small sachet of Dangote granulated sugar, which was sold at N50 now sells at N150 while that of N100 before now sells at N300.

Also, the cost of Milo refill (1kg) has increased from N1, 700 to N2, 000 while a 1kg of tin Milo formerly sold at N2, 000 now sells at N2, 700. Tin Milo (500g) is now N1, 700 from N1, 200.

The price of Dano full cream milk (800kg) has risen to N2, 300 while a 360g now sells for N1, 200.

Peak milk refill (350g) now sells at N1, 200 while a 900g sells at N2, 700. The price of a small sachet of peak milk has risen from N50 to N60.

Baby food is not exempted as a tin of NAN 1 and NAN 2 now sell at N2,500 from N2,200 before now Similarly, a 50kg bag of Cap rice is sold at N25,500 and the half bag sold at N12,500 while 100kg of both iron and honey beans are sold at N60,000.

Mrs. Regina Oboh who runs a food canteen and buys from the Ketu market said: “The number of yams I buy for N1, 500 now previously sold for 1200 or 1300 last month. Oil is the only thing that came down. I bought it for N500 last month but now it is 450 naira for a litre.”

A civil servant with the Ministry of Information in Lagos State, Mr. Azeez Olatubosun described as a sorry situation, the rising prices of food items.

“The situation is mounting pressure on me as a civil servant and head of my family. Ramadan has also further aggravated the situation as prices of food items and beverages keep soaring.

“The family economy is shrinking because the salary is being used to buy items at exorbitant prices. Our salaries remain the same but prices of items keep increasing, which means that we now buy fewer items with the same money. If care is not taken, the situation is capable of causing rancour among couples,” he said.

Another civil servant, Mrs Lara Ade lamented that prices of food items and water have gone up.

According to her, a set of sachet water, which was sold at N1, 000 before, now sold at N1, 200 and that the price of bottled water has risen from N50 to N70.

“The situation is not palatable at all because we have too many things contending with our salary, including school fees, house rent and transportation and on top of it all, food and water are expensive to buy. Things have not remained the same after the COVID-19 lockdown and EndSARS protest,” she lamented.

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