• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

Inflation: Rice, noodles, garri prices double leaving millions struggling to eat

February TalkExchange poll: Is Nigeria’s record-high food inflation affecting you?

Due to lingering inflation, the cost of buying staple food in Nigeria has surged, hitting 100 percent, compared to what it was the previous year, a recent market survey by BusinessDay has shown.

In the past nine months, the prices of major staples such as rice, noodles, spaghetti and even garri have reached an all-time high as inflation ravages the very fabric of the economy.

This sharp increase in the prices of food items and other daily household consumables has worsened the living conditions of many Nigerians and left them groaning in hunger.

According to a survey carried out at Ikotun market, Lagos, the prices of almost all food items have increased significantly compared to what was obtainable last May.

A bag of rice which is unarguably the commonest staple among Nigerian households now sells between N65,000 to N68,000 as against N33,000 to N35,000 for which it sold in May.

For a bag of yellow garri, which sold for N25,000, has jumped to N50,000, while white garri now sells for N40,000 against N14,000 for which it sold last year.

A carton of noodles was N3,200 last year but has doubled to N6,800, while that of spaghetti which sold for N9,000 sells at N15,000 now.

Meanwhile 10kg of Semolina, another alternative for garri, which was N5,000 before, now stood at N12,000.

A ‘long slate’ of ‘Titus’ (mackerel) now sells for N105,000 against N78,000 for which it sold last year. A square cartoon of ‘Titus’ sold for N38,000 the previous year now sells for N78,000, while a 25 litre of palm oil formerly sold for N31,000 now sells for N41,000.

Emeka Andrew who sells wholesale told BusinessDay that the instability in prices of goods sold almost made him close up last December, lamenting the frequent hike in the cost of food items.

“If we go to market today, the prices we meet will be different from what we bought the previous day. I was even thinking of closing up and switching to another business last year,” Andrew said.

Lawal Aisha, a university graduate, who makes a living off selling cartons of noodles and spaghetti said sales have dropped and her customers now buy on credit.

“When I started my business last February after I finished NYSC, I used to buy not less than 50 cartons each of different brands of noodles and spaghetti, I could barely buy 10 cartons with the same amount now.

“The economy has turned every one to taking credit. What will I do? I cannot eat it alone. Even sales have dropped. I wonder what people are eating now,” she lamented.

Another trader, Bisi Oladunjoye said “The market is dull”, stressing that her coming to shop was just a way not to sit at home waiting for “Mana to fall from heaven”.

In the face of this economic hardship, Mohammed Idris, the minister for Information and National Orientation, assured Nigerians that food items would be released from the National Food Reserves as part of the measures to crash food prices.

Idris made this known on Wednesday after the meeting of the Special Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention which was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu.

“What I will tell Nigerians is that the President has directed that the government needs to step in to stem this tide. The government will not fold its arms and see the way Nigerians are suffering in terms of the availability of these food items.
“Now, some of these will involve unlocking the foods that are available in most of the storageFederal Ministry of Agriculture has some food reserves. They are going to be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Data compiled by the National Bureau of (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 22.41 percent in May but has increased by 6.92 percent, climbing rapidly to a record high of 28.92 percent last December.

Similarly, Nigeria’s food inflation has witnessed ceaseless increases from 24.82 percent in May to 33.93 percent in December.

Nigerians have cried out over economic hardship with inflation and food prices spiking under President Bola Tinubu’s watch.

Earlier in the week, protests rocked two northern states, Niger and Kano over soaring food prices.

Africa’s biggest economy faced accelerated headline inflation after Tinubu’s sudden removal of the petrol subsidy in May followed later by the CBN’s policy of floating the naira in June.

The reforms, though lauded by experts, have seen petrol prices rise from N145 per litre to N630, while the naira plummets against the dollar in the parallel market, trading at about N1,500 per $1.

Acknowledging the prevalent economic crisis and hardship, Tinubu has urged Nigerians to show understanding and allow the reforms to bear the needed fruits of prosperity.
“The financial re-engineering of our country is ongoing. We are determined to deliver Nigeria safely through the tunnel of hope, stability, and economic prosperity,” he said last December.