• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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BusinessDay

Inflation bites hard as Nigerians struggle for survival

What we keep getting wrong about inflation in Nigeria

The surge in the prices of goods and services occasioned by the sharp removal of fuel subsidy, rising inflation and naira devaluation has thrown many Nigerians into fight for survival.

Many Nigerians have continued to decry the ever-rising rate of prices of food items, drugs as well as other household needs.

Traders at the Obadore mini-market along LASU-Igando road have also had a fair share of the weakened currency resulting in the unstable prices of the various food items they sell.

One of the traders, Ruqayat Bello, blamed the government for not providing enough alternative measures before taking bold steps in the economy.

She added that prior to May before the new administration took over the reins of government, prices of food items were not as high as what’s experienced now.

“A bag of rice was sold around N28,500 in April, now it is between N52,000 to N55, 000; a keg of vegetable oil sold for N32,000 around the same period is N42,000 now. Even “garri” – cassava flakes – which used to be N18,000 per bag now goes for N28,000,” she said.

Cow sellers are also not left out in this menace. For them, insecurity, high cost of transportation and feeding are the reasons for the sudden rise in the sales of cows.

Olalekan Oluwafemi, a farmer in the Ikotun area of Lagos State, said major cows that are sold in Nigeria are from Niger and Katsina, adding that cost of transportation and insurgency made cows to be expensive.

“Apart from the high demands of cows because of the festive season, the cost of transporting a cow from Katsina which used to be N20,000 earlier this year is now around N60,000.”

He said many religious houses who used to buy two to three cows for anniversaries now settle for one due to the economic austerity in the country.

“A big cow was sold for around N400,000 in September but that same size goes for N750,000 to N800,000 now. I sold one for one million naira last week. Due to this increase, many churches who patronise us for more than three cows can barely get one,” he complained.

Beyond the doubling cost of household consumables, the persistent increase in drug prices have equally added to the many troubles of Nigerians.

The exit of a major drug manufacturing company, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, in August, has put many drugs on the high.

“I started using Xalatan eye drop when it was N1,500, now it is sold at N12, 500 as at November, anyone who is not financially buoyant cannot survive in this country, ” Babatunde, a retired director of education in Lagos lamented.

The increased rate of inflation pegged at 27.3 percent in October, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, has a great effect on the cost of living and adversely affects the standard of living of both the rich and the poor.

It has made many Nigerians resort to reviewing and prioritising their spendings and lifestyles.

While many other countries have recorded significant decreases in inflation, including Ghana, Nigeria’s keep skyrocketing, making life unbearable for its people.

Several analysts have predicted that the inflation rate may hit 30 percent by December, toughening the livelihood of the citizens.

The Economist Intelligence Unit noted that in the absence of further rises of petrol prices or devaluation of naira, inflation will moderate from an estimated 28.7 percent at end-2023, to an average of 23.6 percent in 2024.

According to the Nigerian Development Update, a biannual report by the World Bank in December, 2023, it revealed that reaping the benefits of the bold reforms, economic adjustments are necessary by the government; while sustaining and fully implementing the reforms and taking complementary actions are essential.

“The removal of the petrol subsidy and the FX reforms have opened a window of opportunity that, if effectively seized by sustaining and building on these reforms, could have a transformative impact on the lives of millions of Nigerians and establish a solid foundation for sustained growth,” the report revealed.

Though the government has taken bold steps through the various reforms initiated, Nigerians eagerly await its manifestations in their day-to-day living moving forward.