As Nigerians gear up towards the yuletide of Christmas and New Year celebrations, many families are losing the cheers and joys of the season consequent to the surge in the price of food items such as rice, chicken, and other ingredients for the occasion.
A visit to the market in recent times reveals that the cost of food and other household items is on the high. There have also been significant increases in the prices of cooking gas, passenger transport by road, passenger transport by air, and others.
Transport fares are not left out of the price surge competition as bus fares from Lagos to Onitsha are now over N50,000, while airfares to Abuja are between N190,000 to N238,200 depending on the airline.
Sola Kayode, a civil servant who usually travels to Benin City to see her parents has decided to cancel the plan to travel because of the prices of things.
“The only thing certainly constant today is salary, every food item and household stuff has gone up in price. Imagine, the other day I went to price a cock, and I was told it is N20,000. If I should buy a cock for N20,000, how much food would I use to cook it,” she asked.
Furthermore, she said; “A bag of rice now is N61,500 and N57,000 depending on the brand. The vegetable oil sells for N43,000 for 25 litres and N9,000 for five litres.
The situation is not a pleasant one; we will make do with whatever we see. Christmas joys have been stolen by the surging cost of living. We are barely striving for survival and nothing more.”
Sunny Nwankwo, a trader in Kaduna who had intended to travel to Enugu State with his family confessed that the idea looks bleak with current realities.
“Honestly, I have dropped the idea of taking my family to my hometown because of the surging cost of things. I’m just trying to adjust to life after the burial of my father, and the cost of petrol, food items, and other necessities are rather high and this calls for caution.
So, I have told my family we are not going to the villa again for the yuletide, don’t forget that the school fees are there. I have three children, my brother, I have cut my coat according to the size of my cloth,” he said.
The rising cost of transportation witnessed for about six months since the new government took over administration means many local holiday tourists would not have to sheave traveling this yuletide season.
People are being forced to cut their spending, especially bearing in mind that there are school fees and in some cases house rents to pay after the festive seasons.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recent report, “Nigerians spend about half of their income on food and another 20 percent on transportation.”
The pressure on many families is more pronounced at the fore of the Christmas season as their expenses tend to triple as the quest to visit extended family members increases.
Experts revealed that in 2023, nearly 12 percent of the world population in extreme poverty lived in Nigeria, considering the poverty threshold at $1.90 a day.
More than half of the country’s population of 200 million lives within this category, hence, every bit of price increase adds to the suffering of the people.
According to NBS, at least 133 million people suffer from “multi-dimensional poverty.