• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigerians battle for survival as Naira continues free-fall

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Nigerians have continued to decry the low purchasing power of the naira, especially as it could barely afford them the essentials of life.

Yusuf Adewale, a chartered accountant, dreamed of being married in January but was cut short as the amount he had saved wouldn’t be sufficient for the marriage list, let alone the entire wedding expenses due to the rise in the cost of goods.

“The rising prices in items needed have disrupted my plans to get married in January, saying the cost of items needed is “extraordinary”, Adewale who works with a microfinance bank in Lagos, said .

He lamented that the over a million last year he collected this January could only get half of what he had planned.

Items such as food, clothing and shelter, considered necessities, have come under threat with the all-time low rate of the naira against the dollar.

As of last June, the naira to dollar rate stood at N460. Still, it plummeted to N1,384 on Monday at the official Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), amounting to a 66 per cent increase within seven months.

This constant rise has resulted in the surging of prices of daily items, especially consumables.

Kehinde Adeniji, a food seller in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State, said the rapid increase in the cost of food has reduced her patronage and, by extension, profits.

She said the prices of items she used in cooking the food change every week, stressing that the quantity of food she sells has dropped.

“A bag of beans used to be N75,000, the same bag is sold for N120,000 now. Even a big tuber of yam which was sold for N1400 mid-last year now goes for N3,000.

“All of these factors have made people who normally eat two times a day resort to buying once. On our side, we have not been making enough sales and profits like before,” Kehinde lamented.

A report by BussinessDay indicated that the persistent slide in the country’s currency contributes to its rising inflation which has caused a decline in the people’s standard of living.

The latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria’s inflation rose for the 12th straight month to a 20-year high of 28.92 percent from 28.20 percent in November.

In the same year, Nigerians witnessed a spike in food inflation which rose from 32.84 per cent in November to 33.93 per cent in December, causing Nigerians to groaning in hunger.

A fabric seller at the Idumota market, Sade Adenekan, said she could not buy any “material” until the naira falls, blaming the increase in the foreign exchange rate for her reasons.

“Buying clothing materials is now very expensive. Even if we buy, people will drop it after hearing the price. Materials I bought to sell for the Christmas period are yet to be sold completely”, Sade complained.