Bismarck Rewane, the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company, attributed the increasing cost of food items in Nigeria to the deteriorating condition of the country’s roads.
Rewane made this assessment during his guest appearance on the Arise Television News Business Report programme on Monday.
He portrayed a grim view of the dilapidated state of many Nigerian roads, stating that regardless of who becomes the Minister of Works, maintaining these roads has become an exceedingly challenging endeavour.
He said, “But the reality is that the state of the roads, except something is done, I think there’s some concessioning of the roads in Nigeria as federal roads. It is now clear to everybody, irrespective of who is the minister of works or whatever it is, that managing the roads in Nigeria has become an impossible task.”
The Nigerian economist emphasised the government’s need to prioritise the restoration of these roads.
He highlighted the worsening conditions of many of these roads, particularly those outside Lagos State, which are contributing to the escalation of prices for locally produced food items.
Bismarck also underscored the influence of the weakening naira on food inflation. He explained that despite global decreases in the prices of certain food items, the devaluation of the naira is preventing Nigerians from reaping these benefits. As a result, the prices of most imported food items continue to rise.
“The price of wheat has come down internationally by 25 percent, but the currency itself has depreciated by more than that. Therefore, what you are finding today, in spite of the supposed price war, is that a bag of flour is going for around N29,000–N30,000.
“The price of a bag of rice is going for N55,000, and this is November. What is going to happen when Christmas comes? If there’s anything to celebrate, there’s not much to cheer about, but there’s much to fear. What we’ll see is that maybe to get to 60,000 or 61,000 Naira, there’s some hard work to do to bring down the prices of goods.”