• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Inflation heat pushes Nigerians to compare Peugeot 505 wagon price with Agege bread

Inflation heat pushes Nigerians to compare Peugeot 505 wagon price with Agege bread

The price of a Peugeot 505 wagon in 1975 according to a photo going viral on social media is less than the price of a loaf of bread in 2024. A Nigerian says this observation has changed their mind about the economy.

After buying a Peugeot 505 wagon for N1,700 in 1975, 49 years later, Agege bread is N1800.

An X handler, @desolution39 whose bio says they are a software quality assurance engineer tweeted while comparing the price of Peugeot 505 wagon in 1975 with the price of Agege bread in 2024 “What do you think about this guys, how our economy is fairing.”

Nigerians are not only battling with the high cost of food items across the nation but are also faced with difficulties purchasing certain essential products for their existence.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest Consumer Price Index report in February, the nation’s inflation rate stands at 31.70 per cent which is 1.80 per cent increase from 29.90 per cent in January 2024.

Food inflation, which constitutes 50 percent of the inflation rate, rose to 37.92percent in February from 35.41 percent in January.

Food inflation in Nigeria is a significant concern due to a combination of domestic and global factors.

Sky-high prices are putting basic food items that meet the minimum nutrient requirements out of the reach of many Nigerians.

Data from Picodi, an international e-commerce platform released in February shows that the total cost of the ‘survival basket’, which contains 10 litres of milk, 10 loaves of bread, 1.5kg of rice, 20 pieces of eggs, 1kg of cheese, 6kg of meat, 6kg of fruits and 8kg of vegetables, rose by 33.1 percent to N64,060 in January 2024 from N48,130 in the same period of last year.

The cost of the basket increased by 17.4 percent in January 2023, 15.9 percent in 2022, 9.06 percent in 2021, and 2.80 percent in 2020.

“This amount represents 116.5 percent of the net minimum wage, while at the beginning of last year, it was 160.4 percent of the minimum wage. In Nigeria, the minimum wage is not enough to cover even such a basic set of groceries,” analysts at Picodi Nigeria said.

Brilliant Akpedafe, a production technician in Lagos said “the prices of food always leaves me dumbfounded every time I go to the market. Last week I was shocked at the price of a kilogram of chicken, so I opted for fish, but the cost of fish was so overwhelming that I humbly returned to buy the chicken.

“Generally, I have not reduced my food consumption or amount of times I eat, cause I like food, and if I don’t eat properly I might end up sick and spend money on medications,” Akpedafe said.

“So I spend more money on food than I used to. I would have said I’m hoping it gets better soon, but that it’s not looking like it,” he added.

The vulnerability of Nigeria’s food supply chain, characterised by inadequate infrastructure and logistical bottlenecks, hinders efficient production and distribution, leading to price hikes and volatility.

Iyanuoluwa Fadairo, a resident trader in Ogun State said, “I have reduced food consumption for my family from three square meals to two square meals.”

“Even rice, a common food that we consume almost everyday, has been reduced to three times in a week,” she stated.

“At times, I prefer mama put to cooking at home because if you calculate how much you will spend on food like gas, oil, and other food items, it’s a lot,” Fadairo said.

Nigeria’s food situation worsened after the past administration introduced the border closure policy to tame smuggling, which resulted in increasing food prices.

This, coupled with the removal of petrol subsidy and naira devaluation of the Tinubu-led administration, has further pushed up food prices and amplified a cost-of-living crisis in Africa’s biggest economy.

“We are here because our fiscal and economic policies are not right. And most times it is because we do not have a formidable economic team in place. The problems started when the president made the huge pronouncement that the subsidy has been removed,” Femi Egbesola, national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, said.

The rising cost of living is leading to a social-economic crisis in the economy.

Nigerians are increasingly discontented with rising food prices, expressing frustration and concern in markets and remote villages. Protests in states like Niger, Kano, Kogi, and Ondo are sparked by growing voices demanding solutions to the economic crisis.

The naira depreciation has increased the cost of imported goods, including agricultural inputs, and exacerbated inflationary pressures which led to increased production costs and consumer prices, causing food insecurity and rising living costs.

Nigeria is currently in a battle to contain its historic currency crisis and soaring inflation, which the International Monetary Fund has warned that almost one in 10 people are facing food insecurity.

“Cooking ingredients and meals saw a relatively strong decline in 2023 despite the fact that its major categories consist of several products that are central to consumer diets and even considered to be essential,” analysts at Euromonitor International said in its report.

An outlook report by the FAO, World Food Program, and others projected that Nigeria and other countries across the West Africa region are expected to see increased prices of staple foods such as rice, maize, millet, and cereals, among others, in 2024.