Data, travel, and rent are some of the items Nigerian households are playing down to keep up with the rising cost of living, a BusinessDay survey shows.
Data sourced from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows that the country’s inflation rate surged to a five-year high of 18.60 percent in June 2022 from 17.71 in the previous month. The high inflation rate already puts it among the highest in the world.
While food inflation which constitutes 50 percent of the inflation also rose by 19.50 percent in June, the highest in eight months.
Okiemute Denedo, a businesswoman who resides in Ikeja in an interview with BusinessDay said she and her family had to stop their yearly vacation due to the surge in prices.
“I go on summer vacation yearly with my family but with prices of everything surging and our family income remaining the same, we had to cancel our summer vacation this year.”
A businessman who simply gave his name as Shola added that he had to cut down on travels.
‘I travel often, but with the recent hike in airfares, I do not travel as frequently as I do. Recently, I wanted to make a trip to Benin but looking at the airfares I cancelled my trip,” Shola said.
The operating costs of Nigerian airlines such as taxes, surcharges, and maintenance costs, which have risen because of the scarcity of foreign exchange, have made air tickets go as high as N80,000 for trips within the country.
Apart from travelling, the cost of housing has gone up due to unfavourable exchange rates on imported building materials. This means that fewer people can afford to buy homes which increase the demand for rental housing.
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Emmanuel Chigozie noted that he had to look for a cheaper apartment as inflation affects his previous abode. “As for my house rent, I parked out of my former lodge when the landlord increased the rent and moved to another one. House rent keeps increasing with low income.”
Nigeria is said to be an active rental market where about 80 percent of the citizens are renters, spending a good percentage of their income paying house rent.
What the current surge in rental costs has done is compel city dwellers to downsize or downgrade to more affordable apartments to stave off harsh economic conditions, especially the cost of living.
Agbeleye Adebisi said that she had to compromise her privacy due to the surge in the rent of her apartment.
“I used to stay alone, but when my rent expired in January, I was forced to get a roommate to split the cost. Consequently, I no longer have my privacy.
For data subscription, “I recharged N6,000 monthly but now I have cut it down to N1,500. My salary is still the same despite the surge in prices. I have to cut down on what I send on data to enable me to buy more of other essential items,” Ibrahim Abubarkar, an energy analyst said.
With the constant squeezing in individuals’ budgets as a result of increases in the cost of living, data is not left out of the cutbacks.
“I recharged N6,000 monthly but now I have cut it down to N1,500. My salary is still the same despite the surge in prices. I have to cut down on what I send on data to enable me to buy more of other essential items,” Folake Babatunde, a secondary school teacher, told BusinessDay.
Azeez Ishola usually spends 2,000-3,000 on data monthly but now he barely loads his phone with data as he now relies on his friends for hotspots.
“Since he lost his job, I heard he adjusted his spending for just feeding, and transport when job seeking. So the little data he gets is just to upload or send his CV. He does not have the luxury to go on social media platforms.”