Nigerians seek cheaper alternatives to survive surging prices

Nigerians and businesses are now sourcing cheaper alternative items for consumption and production amid the economic crunch and surging prices of goods and services.

BusinessDay conducted a series of interviews with individuals and businesses to ascertain how they are surviving. And in no particular order, here are responses from a business operator and an individual:

Individual:

Agbeleye Adebisi is an undergraduate who is affected by the current Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ongoing strike. He shares his experience in surviving the current economic hardship below.

How are you coping with the rise in food prices? What are you buying less of?

My eating pattern has changed from what it was last year, now I have reduced the way I purchase food from food vendors, and since I now deliberately skip meals I am spending more money to get less quantity and quality of food items. Now I buy more Garri and rice, Indomie is a luxury.

What have you had to forgo in terms of housing, healthcare & higher education?

Before, I stay alone, and my rent expired in January, and I was forced to get a roommate to split the cost. Consequently, I no longer have my privacy. For healthcare, I used to get medication from a pharmacy and take care of myself but now I use only paracetamol for everything and if necessary I take herbs instead.

How easy has it been for you to move around?

I always used to take Uber or Bolt to wherever I’m going but now I go around in public buses and in some cases if the distance is not too far, I walk instead of spending N100 or N150.

Has your income increased in the last year?

My income has not increased, I work in a cement depot and the only thing that has increased is the price of cement from the supplier, this has affected our sales. Currently, we are trying to create a balance between our supply and demand price in a way that will favour us and our customers because of competitors.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

The rate of suffering will increase and this will cause a surge in robbery and other criminal activities. It is possible the safety of individuals and property will be a problem.

Business:

Agoro Olajumoke Adunni is the founder of Dunnispot Catering Services – a food vendor in the Lagos metropolitan. Below is her response to the questions:

How are you coping with the rising input prices?

Understanding my customers and investing in market research were two of the many tools I used to curb this rising input cost. I went into the marketplace myself to talk to customers directly to understand their pain, attitudes and behaviours in response to price inflation. I realised more customers were looking out for promotions and discounted sales on certain meals, so I cut prices not across the board but only on meals selected as inflation-busters. For low-income customers, promotions hit key price points on small pack sizes while high-income customers encourage multi-unit purchases ahead of inevitable next price increases.

Are you making more money compared to before?

To be factual, I am not making more money now because the standard of living for an average Nigerian today is high. Most people work on budgets. Thankfully, as a food vendor, food is an essential most people can’t do without so I have been able to still cash out.

Are people buying your products?

Yes, I have customers patronising my brand, as I put my brand out there on almost all social media platforms so I have new customers, lots of referrals, and my loyalists that have taken us where we are today.

How is power supply affecting your cost of production?

The lack of a working grid has led to high financial costs. When businesses such as mine add up the hidden expenses – generators depreciation, maintenance, and personnel cost, it can be discouraging but alternative sources of electricity such as inverters and generation have helped my brand in the preservation of my perishable products.

What strategy did you adopt to survive the pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, my business thrived via social media, D.I.Y videos to my loyal customers on request, and home deliveries. It was one of the most profitable periods for my brand.

Is the Nigerian business environment improving?

Yes, it is, as there are many avenues through which brands can showcase their various skills and products and equally cash out at the same.

Nigerians and businesses are now sourcing cheaper alternative items for consumption and production amid the economic crunch and surging prices of goods and services. BusinessDay conducted a series of interviews with individuals and businesses to ascertain how they are surviving. And in no particular order, here are responses from a business operator and an individual: Individual: Agbeleye Adebisi is an undergraduate who is affected by the current Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ongoing strike. He shares his experience in surviving the current economic hardship below. How are you coping with the rise in food prices? What are you buying less of? My eating pattern has changed from what it was last year, now I have reduced the way I purchase food from food vendors, and since I now deliberately skip meals I am spending more money to get less quantity and quality of food items. Now I buy more Garri and rice, Indomie is a luxury. What have you had to forgo in terms of housing, healthcare & higher education? Before, I stay alone, and my rent expired in January, and I was forced to get a roommate to split the cost. Consequently, I no longer have my privacy. For healthcare, I used to get medication from a pharmacy and take care of myself but now I use only paracetamol for everything and if necessary I take herbs instead. How easy has it been for you to move around? I always used to take Uber or Bolt to wherever I'm going but now I go around in public buses and in some cases if the distance is not too far, I walk instead of spending N100 or N150. Has your income increased in the last year? My income has not increased, I work in a cement depot and the only thing that has increased is the price of cement from the supplier, this has affected our sales. Currently, we are trying to create a balance between our supply and demand price in a way that will favour us and our customers because of competitors. What are your fears if the economy continues like this? The rate of suffering will increase and this will cause a surge in robbery and other criminal activities. It is possible the safety of individuals and property will be a problem. Business: Agoro Olajumoke Adunni is the founder of Dunnispot Catering Services – a food vendor in the Lagos metropolitan. Below is her response to the questions: How are you coping with the rising input prices? Understanding my customers and investing in market research were two of the many tools I used to curb this rising input cost. I went into the marketplace myself to talk to customers directly to understand their pain, attitudes and behaviours in response to price inflation. I realised more customers were looking out for promotions and discounted sales on certain meals, so I cut prices not across the board but only on meals selected as inflation-busters. For low-income customers, promotions hit key price points on small pack...


Nigerians and businesses are now sourcing cheaper alternative items for consumption and production amid the economic crunch and surging prices of goods and services. BusinessDay conducted a series of interviews with individuals and businesses to ascertain how they are surviving. And in no particular order, here are responses from a business operator and an individual: Individual: Agbeleye Adebisi is an undergraduate who is affected by the current Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ongoing strike. He shares his experience in surviving the current economic ...


Nigerians and businesses are now sourcing cheaper alternative items for consumption and production amid the economic crunch and surging prices of goods and services. BusinessDay conducted a series of interviews with individuals and businesses to ascertain how they are surviving. And in no particular order, here are responses from a business operator and an individual: Individual:...


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