• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kerosene going beyond the reach of the poor, as inflation bites harder

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Kerosene, which is commonly accessible to rural and urban women in Nigeria, is going beyond the reach of the common man, thereby increasing inflationary trends in the country.
Most families in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, have resorted to the use charcoal for cooking, an alternative to kerosene, which they said is now beyond the reach of the common man.
The price of the product, which dropped minimally to N97 per litre, few months ago in most filling stations, has gone up again to N220 per litre, a development residents observed, portends  serious danger for the people, as it would promote product adulteration.
They noted that the same situation in 2015, resulted to fire outbreaks, leading to loss of lives and property.
 Rosemary Onwuka, a single lady, who lives with her elder brother at Ogbor Hill area of the city, decried the development and described it as unfortunate.
According to her, kerosene now takes a large piece of our house upkeep and urged the Federal Government to address the situation fast.
“In the past, I could use N150 to purchase three litres of kerosene and still have some money left for other things, but that has changed, as I now spend money meant for other things for kerosene,” she said.
Oge Ezeugo, told BDSUNDAY that she now uses firewood or charcoal as she could no longer afford kerosene with her meager salary.
In her words, “I have so many needs contending for my salary and so, I would not expend it only on one item.”
She urged the Federal Government to ensure that the product is available at the official price of N50. Ezeugo is not alone in this; so many other residents have since started using firewood for cooking.
Happiness Uzoechi, an IT instructor, affirmed that she had since changed to firewood for her cooking since the price of kerosene soared.
Mercy Kalu, a public servant, also stated that she has already resorted to charcoal and firewood, as alternatives, stressing that she can no longer afford kerosene with her meager salary of N20,000 per month.
Ngozi Ifeakor, a trader, described the development as incredible and wondered why a product like kerosene, should be overpriced.
She urged the Federal Government not to remove subsidy on kerosene, if it has the welfare of the people at heart.
According to her, subsidy on kerosene is the only thing the masses of this country are benefiting from government.
Most respondents that spoke with our correspondent in Aba, decried the situation and wondered why kerosene should go beyond N50 per litre, despite the fact that Nigeria is an oil producing country.
Rice, which has become a staple food in most homes, has gone beyond the reach of most families. A 50kg bag of rice, which sold for N10,000 to N12,000, depending on the brand, in December 2015, has gone up to N16, 000, consequently, half paint (4 litres gallon) of rice, is now N800 from the previous price of N450 to N500.
Other condiments, like tin tomatoes and vegetable oil have also gone up. Pastry items are not also left out.
Okey Ekeocha, a rice dealer at Market Road, Aba, attributed the high cost of rice to the ban on the importation of the commodity. He urged the Federal Government to remove ban on rice importation, until when the country becomes sufficient in rice production.
According to him, people are suffering. Rice is the most common food in most homes now. It has become an alternative to Gari and other food items in the country.
Master bakers in Aba recently scaled down production to press for upward review of prices of bread.
The bakers attributed their action to increase in the prices of raw materials, which include flour, sugar and butter. The bakers also complained about high electricity tariff charged by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), which they noted adds to their production cost.
M.O.Nnaji, managing director, Dera bread, a popular brand in Aba, in an interview with BDSUNDAY, explained that bakers are producing at a very high cost, stressing that the current action, was to press for an upward review of prices.
BDSUNDAY checks revealed that Topper brand of butter, which sold for N6,500 is now N8,000, Clematis butter has gone up to N7,200 from N5,700, while a bag of 50kg Golden Penny brand of flour, which formally sold for N6,500 is now N8700. Dangote brand of flour has gone up to N9,500 against its previous price of N7,200.
Also, a 50kg bag of Golden Penny brand of sugar, formerly sold for N6,700 is now N9,500.
GODFREY OFURUM