• Monday, May 27, 2024
businessday logo


Economic struggle: These commodities’ prices show how Nigerians have fared since May 2023

Prices of items (1)

As Nigeria approaches the first anniversary of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, the nation stands at a crossroads, grappling with economic policies that have yet to alleviate the hardships faced by its citizens.

Despite the government’s efforts to stabilise the economy through various measures, the populace continues to endure the pangs of a cost-of-living crisis that has only deepened since the President’s inauguration on May 29, 2023.

Tinubu’s ascension to power came with promises of economic reform and a better standard of living for Nigerians. However, the reality has been starkly different. The prices of essential commodities have soared, with the naira’s value plummeting against the dollar.

The administration’s economic decisions, such as the removal of fuel subsidy and the unification of the exchange rate, were intended to bring about positive change.

However, these policies have also led to an immediate increase in the prices of petrol and other goods, affecting transportation, power generation, and the cost of living.

The removal of the fuel subsidy, in particular, has been a contentious issue, with many Nigerians feeling the direct impact on their daily lives.

“Subsidy is gone.” This was the statement made by President Bola Tinubu in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023.

The market reacted immediately to the president’s speech leading to an astronomical rise in the pump price of petrol across the country.

The product, which was sold between ₦190 and ₦210 before Tinubu’s government, is currently sold between ₦568 and ₦620 at the official rate.

At the time of Tinubu’s inauguration, the exchange rate was approximately N450 and N700 to one dollar at the official and parallel markets, respectively.

Since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) floated the Nigerian currency in June 2023, the naira to dollar rate has experienced significant fluctuations, reflecting the volatility of the Nigerian economy.

At the time of filing this report, a naira to dollar is traded between N1,459 and N1,421 at the official market. While a dollar is exchanged for N1440 at the parallel market.

The voices of Nigerians are clear and resounding: the policies have not yet scratched the surface of their challenges. From the bustling markets of Lagos to the quiet streets of rural communities, the consensus is that life has become increasingly difficult.

“Every day is a struggle to survive,” says Amina, a market vendor in Lagos. “The cost of rice, beans, even oil, has doubled. We can’t keep up.”

The cost-of-living crisis in Nigeria has been described as the worst in decades, with inflation reaching record highs and food insecurity becoming an increasingly pressing concern.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that food inflation, which makes up over 50 percent of headline inflation, continued to increase for the 15th consecutive time, reaching 40.01 percent in March compared to 37.92 percent in February.

The CPI, measuring price changes of goods and services, also revealed that March’s food inflation rate was 15.56 percentage points higher than March last year, which stood at 24.45 percent.

In addition to food inflation, headline inflation accelerated to 33.20 percent in March, up from 31.70 percent in February.

A medium-sized sliced bread priced at N750 in May 2023, now sold at N1,400. The cost of a piece of egg rose from N100 to N200, and the cost of a crate of eggs rose from N3,500 to N4000 within the same period.

Also, foreign parboiled rice in a 50 kg bag ranges between N75,000 and N77,000, compared to N30,000 to N33,000 in May 2023. Local parboiled rice in a 50 kg bag now sells for N65,000 to N70,000, up from N30,000 before Tinubu’s administration.

A derica of beans has surged from N500 to N1,300, and a 25-litre container of vegetable oil is now priced at N45,000. A paint of garri now priced N4,000 from N1,000 in May 2023.


According to the 2023 State of Food Security and Nutrition World report, the number of Nigerians who are food insecure has increased by 133 percent in three years. It jumped from 63.8 million people between 2014 and 2016 to 148.7 million people between 2020 and 2022.

As Tinubu’s first year in office comes to a close, Nigerians are calling for more effective policies that directly address the challenges they face. The need for measures that can provide immediate relief to the cost-of-living crisis is evident.

The government’s next steps will be crucial in determining whether the nation can steer itself towards a path of recovery or continue to struggle under the weight of economic uncertainty.