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Jolly Easter as Nigerians adjust to economic realities

…Airlines record full load, deploy more aircraft


Consumers across the country appear to be having a better outing this Easter than was the case last year, checks by BDSUNDAY have shown.

Unlike last year when many people said they were not able to afford basic items for celebration including the necessary food stuff and commodities associated with festivities, the story appears different this time around.

The marked difference was also noticeable in the transportation sector where transporters seem to be having a hectic time meeting up with the demands of commuters. The aviation segment of the transport sector seems to be enjoying an increased patronage as against this time last year.

Many more people are engaging in various social activities for the Easter celebrations as prices of commodities stabilise.

Experts say this is an improvement on last year when prices of food stuff increased, making it very difficult for many people to spend and enjoy Easter celebrations.

A consumer, with a family of four, says his family will be able to celebrate this year’s Easter better than the previous year.

According to him, last year, he was not able to afford a bag of rice or a live chicken, nor was he able to take his family on outings to mark the celebration. But with food prices gradually reducing, he can afford those items he could not afford last year.

Additionally, analysts in the consumer sector say this year’s Easter celebration is quite better compared to last year’s celebration.

Yinka Ademuwagun, a consumer analyst at United Capital who believes that this year’s celebration is better, said that most companies have been able to adjust prices and consumers have been able to attune to the adjusted prices.

“There was no market last year because we just came out of recession and people were still battling with prices from the companies because most of them increased their prices due to devaluation of naira, so consumers were still trying to adapt.

“But this year is better because most of the companies have been able to adjust prices and consumers have already adjusted to the prices,” Ademuwagun explained.

The airline business is also experiencing boom with full load factor despite increase in air fares to top destinations within Nigeria such as Abuja, Lagos, Owerri, Enugu and Port Harcourt.

BDSUNDAY’s checks show that a one-way ticket from Lagos to most of these destinations cost between N23,000 to N25,000 but as at Thursday, airfares on AirPeace rose to N45,000 to N60,000.

A one-way ticket on other domestic carriers such as Dana Air and Max Air on the above destinations cost between N36,000 to N45,000.

Despite this significant increase, airlines are experiencing  full load factor, such that AirPeace and Dana Air had to deploy more aircraft to cater to the demand from these routes.

AirPeace pulled a big surprise on the travelling public as it deployed wide-body Boeing 777 aircraft for its domestic operations on the Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt routes on Easter Friday and Monday.

Air Peace recently acquired four Boeing 777 aircraft for its long-haul operations to Sharjah, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai. Three of the wide-body aircraft have so far been delivered to the airline in readiness for its soon-to-start international operations.

Chris Iwarah, by Air Peace Corporate Communications manager, said the carrier decided to deploy its Boeing 777 aircraft at Easter to “give Nigerians and the travelling public a taste of the luxury to expect on our international routes starting soon. The deployment of our beautiful big birds, the Boeing 777 on our domestic routes this Easter begins with our Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt services on Easter Friday and Monday.

“Although our decision to deploy our wide-body aircraft on the domestic routes has huge financial implications for us, we are pleased to honour our pledge never to spare anything in giving our esteemed customers an exceptional feel of air travel experience.”

Kingsley Ezenwa, Media and Communications manager, Dana Air, said the airline just received one of its aircraft that had been out of the country on maintenance and quickly deployed it to Uyo and Owerri routes.

“We have recorded full load factor on our Owerri route. This Easter has been really good for us across board. Fares are determined by demand but our fares have been very pocket-friendly,” Ezenwa added.

Road transportation is also experiencing a surge in passengers and prices from Lagos to top destinations like Abuja, Imo, Owerri, Aba, Delta, Asaba have also increase from N5,000 to about N8,000 to N12,000 on Peace Mass, Young Shall Grow, EkeneDili Chukwu and God is Good.

Businesses have also experienced boom as retail outlets and stores are wooing consumers with promotional offers and pushing out affordable items for shoppers.

Some of these retail stores reviewed by BDSUNDAY include SPAR, one of the largest chains of hypermarket stores in Nigeria, Panasonic and Samsung electronics stores and Startimes, a TV station provider.

SPAR store at Opebi, Lagos State Easter promo sales is currently showcasing discounted items like a 2.6 litres Power oil pure vegetable sold at N2, 065 from N2,150, Spar classic bread for N350 from N370, Fresh frozen chicken for N1,095 from N1,246, a 750ml Ocean Breach Californian red wine for N1,220 from N1,650, a 900g Ariel brilliant strain removal for N655 from N685, and Honeywell spaghetti 500gm for N185 from N200,

In the satellite television services segment, Startimes is offering an upgrade on all its bouquets for subscribers starting from April 1st to May 15th.This will give customers the opportunity to pay for subscription package on Nova, Basic, Smart and Classic bouquets and get an instant upgrade to view a  higher bouquet within hours of activation.

If subscribers pay N1, 800 for two months on Nova bouquet, they get to enjoy all Basic bouquet channels for 2 months, if they pay N2, 600 for two months on the Basic bouquet, they enjoy all Classic bouquet channels for 2 months and if they pay N2, 850 for one month and half on the Classic bouquet, they enjoy 2 months subscription.

In the electronics market, Samsung is selling its LED television set of 40N5000 series for N115,000 from N146,000, Panasonic LED television 40F336m series for N98,500 from N104,000, Samsung washing machine WA75 for N139,00 from N147,200, its refrigerator RT32 series for N190,000 from N208,500 and Panasonic 2HP Air Conditional RC18RKD series for N205,000 from N215,000.

Nigeria was in recession for five consecutive quarters but returned to positive growth of 0.72 percent in the second quarter (Q2) 2017 from -0.67 percent in Q1 2016. The economy has been recovering since then as it grew by 1.9 percent in 2018 from 0.8 percent in 2017

Food inflation also called food prices moderated year-on-year. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report inflation moderated by 2.6 percentage points to 13.45 percent in March 2019 from 16.08 percent in same period of last year

“Petrol prices and CPI has been treading down and this is showing positive movement in economic activities. Mostly, you would see some sort of improved demand compared to what we had last year. Looking at last year, there was not too much celebration. A couple of retail stores that I visited said that they are running prom unlike when they could not this last year,” Ayorinde Akinloye, a consumer goods analyst at Lagos-based CSL Stockbrokers said.

Speaking on his organisation’s plans and special offerings for its customers this season,  Amalia Sebakunzi, marketing director, Domino Pizza, said: “We are doing Easter proms for all our brands. For the pizza, we have package of pizza, with chicken and two drinks for N4, 000 and cold stone ice cream, you get a family bundle of two big ice cream, two kids ice cream and cupcakes for N4, 000 and for pink perry ice cream, if you buy two cups, you get one cup for free. This started in the beginning of this month month.”

According to Sebakunzi, “So far, sales have really surged for us for the Easter promos. We will also be having bouncing castes for kids in certain places, football, games etc. this weekend and we also have an Easter eggs search on the pinkperry social page. All you have to do is look for the number of white eggs and if you tell us the right number, you get something for free.”


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