• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Respite for consumers as access to staple food improves

Respite for consumers as access to staple food improves

The gradual reopening of the economy has brought reprieve for Nigerian households as difficulties encountered in purchasing basic food items have moderated considerably coupled with increase in the number of people back to work.

According to a July 2020 COVID-19 impact monitoring report survey by the National Bureau of statistics (NBS), the share of households who needed but were not able to purchase staple foods decreased between April/May and July for four out of the five major staple foods.

“The largest improvement was for cassava, for which the share of households who were not able to purchase it, decreased to 18 percent in July from 34 percent in April/May,” the report stated.

The data bureau further said, however, the share of households unable to purchase some staple foods remained high in July as 62 percent of households who needed yams were unable to purchase them, while 37 percent of households who needed rice were unable to purchase it.

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“Lack of money and an increase in prices were the predominant reasons why households were not able to purchase these staples, indicating the continued economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” it said.

The monthly survey, in its third round, is a nationally representative survey of 1,950 respondents conducted between July 2 and July 16. It monitors the economic impact of the pandemic and other shocks on households across Nigeria.

Damilola Adewale, a Lagos-based economic analyst, said the reopening of the economy has to some considerable extent alleviated pressure on livelihoods caused by the pandemic.

“However, there are indications that consumer demand is still weak given the fact that consumer prices are rising and money income is not rising proportionately,” Adewale said.

Employment improved as the share of people who are working has continued to rise substantially towards pre-crisis levels.

“81 percent of respondents reported that they were working, close to the pre-pandemic level of 85 percent. However, the recovery in urban areas is lagging, with the share of urban respondents working 11 percentage points lower than prior to the outbreak,” the report stated.

And even though the share of respondents working has recovered, there is some evidence of people moving in and out of work.

“This suggests that the new jobs gained may be precarious, and thus there is likely still instability in the job market,” the report said.