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Nigerians spend 106% of their salary to cook chicken stew

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Residents in Lagos spend at least 106 percent of their minimum monthly salary (N30,000) to prepare a pot of chicken stew in 2023, a new stew index report has said.

The report by PricePally, an online grocery store in Nigeria, showed that in 2022, the cheapest pot of chicken stew takes at least 80 percent of the salary of a minimum wage earner, assuming they prepare the dish once every week for four weeks.

“Following the same condition, a minimum wage earner must spend at least 106 percent of their salary to prepare a pot of chicken stew in Lagos in 2023 (January–July),” the report said.

It said a person needs 23 percent (N6,902.6) of their minimum wage to prepare a pot of beef stew in Lagos in 2022, while it takes 20 percent (N6,023.74) of the minimum wage in Abuja.

“In 2023, you need at least 26 percent (N8,060.3) of the minimum wage to prepare beef stew in Lagos, while you need 24 percent (N7,279.9) of the minimum wage to cook beef stew in Abuja,” it added.

The inaugural stew index reveals the cost of preparing stew, an everyday delicacy in Nigeria, and practical solutions to solving food insecurity in Nigeria.

The Nigerian stew is a regular soup made of pepper, tomato, scotch bonnet pepper (ata rodo), cayenne pepper (sombo), bell pepper (tatase), and animal proteins like red meat (e.g., beef and goat meat) and white meat (chicken and turkey).

Read also Lagos residents spend almost a third of their salaries to cook stew weekly – Report

“Fiscal and economic policies, climatic conditions, and instability in farming regions are constant, age-old factors affecting food security in Nigeria. The problems intensified in 2023,” authors of the report said.

They added that for the first time in three years, the store recorded the highest cost for a basket of tomatoes (50kg) in June 2023.

“At ₦100,000, a basket of tomatoes tripled the minimum wage. Similarly, staple stew items joined the charade as agricultural products recorded unprecedented inflation.”

The federal government reforms, such as the removal of petrol subsidies and naira devaluation, implemented in the second quarter of the year, increased the cost of living for cash-strapped consumers.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s inflation rate, a measure of the general price level, rose to an 18-year high of 26.72 percent in September from 25.80 percent in the previous month.

Food inflation, which constitutes 50 percent of the inflation rate, rose to 30.64 percent in September from 29.34 percent in August.

The recent report SBM Intelligence revealed that Nigerians spend 97 percent of their monthly income on food as the monthly average spending on food was N105,318 compared to the monthly average income of N108,097.

“Respondents from the Northeast, South-South and Northwest reported spending above 100 percent of their income on food. Those in the Southeast got a little respite, spending 80 percent of their income on food.

The World Bank said in June that inflation pushed an estimated four million more Nigerians into poverty in the first five months of this year.

“In the immediate term, the removal of the petrol subsidy has caused an increase in prices, adversely affecting poor and economically insecure Nigerian households,” it said.

“The poor and economically insecure households will face an equivalent income loss of N5, 700 per month, and without compensation, an additional 7.1 million people will be pushed into poverty.”

President Bola Tinubu in July declared an immediate state of emergency on food insecurity to tackle the increase in food prices.

All matters pertaining to food & water availability and affordability, as essential livelihood items, be included within the purview of the National Security Council, according to a statement.

Analysts at CSL Stockbrokers said food insecurity had been a cause of concern as the challenges of insurgency, low investments in agriculture, low mechanized farming, inadequate food storage methods and poor transport infrastructure have suppressed supply. In contrast, demand for food products in a population-dense country remains high.

“The five-year tax break provided by the federal government to stimulate investments in the agricultural sector has yet to improve output in the sector. More so, the price levels of food products have risen significantly over the years as all of the factors mentioned above have either directly affected prices or have indirectly affected food prices through increased transport cost,” they added.