The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has been posting a positive outlook on declining inflation rate and the economy. But the real picture hits you when you go to make purchases at the various markets. DEBORAH OCHENI reports
Inflation rate in Nigeria averaged 12.50 per cent from 1996 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 47.56 per cent in January 1996 and a record low of -2.49 per cent in January 2000.
The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently reported that Nigeria’s inflation rate decreased to 11.6 per cent in May, 2018 from 12.5 per cent in the prior month and slightly above market expectations of 11.4 per cent.
Report has it that it was the lowest inflation rate since February 2016, as prices of food and nonalcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, clothing and footwear and transport grew at a slower pace.
Inside Abuja went to town to find out from members of the public the reality of inflation figure on consumable goods, particularly staple food. Surprisingly, cost of living, especially, in Abuja is still very high as opposed to the report.
Inside Abuja’s visited some markets in the Federal Capital Territory to inquire why the decrease in inflation has not affected prices of consumable good especially farm produce. However, respondents gave different answers to the issue.
Rebecca Attah, a retailer in Karu Abuja, a suburb of FCT, said there was no money in circulation but prices of consumable goods are still high. “It’s not a good time for retailers in Nigeria. The cost at which we are buying goods from wholesales shop is so high and as such, we can’t gain much on it. A mudu of melon (egusi) used to be N400 but it now goes for N1,200 and a cup goes for N250 against N70 80 previously.
The final consumer who patronizes us are not finding it easy at all because the money is not in circulation and they are not getting value for the little they have to save. Same goes for groundnut, millet, maize beans and even soup ingredients and vegetable”.
Mallam Shehu, another retailer, who runs the biggest retailing shop in Karshi, another suburb of FCT, said prices of goods have gone up and as such, it’s difficult to even recover your capital after sale, talk less of making a profit.
“Prices of goods have gone a little higher than normal, especially beans. The price of a bag of beans has increased by 30 per cent so it so difficult to get your capital after selling a bag because we are also conscious of consumers that patronise us. If the price is too high, nobody will buy from you and beans is perishable. So, the earlier you sell it, the better”. Sani Musa, a retail shop owner in Kurudu is not saying anything different from the previous respondents.
“Prices of grains have seriously gone high. There was a time we were selling a mudu of maize at N120 but it is now N250 and that is more than 100 per cent increment and the same goes for millet.
The government needs to do something about the steady increase in the cost of consumable goods. These are produce from our local farms, yet people cannot buy them easily. It’s appalling, “he said. Veronica Ogbu, a tomato seller in Orozo said apples are cheaper than tomatoes in Nigeria.
“It is safe to say apples are cheaper than tomatoes that are locally farmed in Nigeria. A basket of tomatoes used to cost N3,000 and the ones from Jos popularly called ‘Tomato Jos, which are always luscious cost N4,000 but now, ordinary tomatoes goes for N18,000 for a basket and N20,000 for tomatoes Jos.
Consumption of tomatoes is now an exclusive preserve for the rich. The quantity we sell between N200 and N250 now goes for N700. It’s an issue if Nigerians regardless of class can’t afford tomatoes;” she said.
Sylvester Atado, a resident in Kurudu said consumers are not finding it easy making purchases in the markets. “We are not finding it easy at all. Cost of living in Abuja is steadily on increase. Imagine, I came to get some tubers of yam and I’m asked to pay N4,000 for four tiny tubers.
By the time only yam costs me N4,000 you can imagine what is left out of the money I came to market with and it’s not only yams we eat. If I’m not lucky, some of the yams will be rotten and if that happens, I am completely at a loss because I’ve paid ,” he said.
Angela Oche, a woman in her late 40s, who resides in Karu, expressed her anger over unemployment in Nigeria and rising cost of living. “My anger is that after sparing our comfort to send our children to school, they graduate without a job. Salary is not increasing and expenses keeps increasing.
The truth of the matter is that I’m tired of everything. I’m in Nigeria yet we can’t enjoy tomatoes stew. We cannot afford beans. I just bought a mudu of brown beans at the rate of N850. This is not funny because there is no money,” she said. Juliath Abbah, a lady in her early 30s, said the cost placed on foodstuff was very alarming. “Maybe, it’s because farmers can no longer go to farm because of these herders attack.
The annoying thing is that I work in a private firm and I’ve been there for three years now. The salary I started with is still what I earn till now. To worsen the whole thing, I don’t even have time to seek another job as I resume early and close late.
How can a cup of egusi be sold between N200 and N250 in Nigeria? May God help us,” she said. Inside Abuja observed that the markets are full of frustrated Nigerians who do not believe the declaration by the government that Nigeria had exited economic recession.
They also do not understand the recent statistics released by the NBS on declining rate of inflation in the country. The reality, according to them, is far from what the official figures tends to portray.
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