The current economic recession in the country occasioned by the fall in the prices of oil in the international market has dealt a devastating blow on Nigerians. Following the depreciation of the naira against the dollar among other economic challenges,
Nigerian families now grapple with astronomical prices of essential commodities in the country. Everybody is complaining. Families are particularly groaning under the high price of food items which have increased by 100 per cent from last year. According to a distraught man in Lagos, “We never had it this bad in this country.My family can no longer afford three square meals in a day. We have all along been getting food items on credit. But the foodstuff sellers are now tired of us, our neighbours and friends are also tired of us begging them for food. Everybody is really lamenting these hem for food. Everybody is really lamenting these hard times and the high prices of food items in the country”. Staple foods such as rice, beans, cassava flakes are now slipping out of the hands of average Nigerians.
Market survey conducted in some markets in Lagos reveal that the prices of some foodstuffs are now three times higher than what they used to be in 2015. Although, the prices of the food items in some of the markets differ the difference is just minimal.
For instance, the price of rice, beans, cassava flakes, palm oil, groundnut oil, pepper in Mile 12 market is different from the price in Mushin-Olosha, Oyingbo, Cele-Ijesha, Abule Egba, Iyana-Iba, Okomaiko among others According to a trader at Mile 12 market, “there is no fixed price for the foodstuffs, people just sell according to what they buy and that is why the prices are not the same.
Investigation revealed that presently, a 50k bag of rice, is sold at the rate of nineteen thousand naira (N19,000) while the same bag of rice was sold for eight thousand, five hundred naira last year. Also, a bag of beans is now thirty nine thousand naira (39000) but in 2015, it was sold for twenty-one thousand five hundred naira (N21500). It was also learnt that, a bag of cassava flakes is sold at the rate of nine thousand, five hundred naira 9,500, a basket of tomatoes cost N6500, a bag of Tatashe pepper is sold at N3500, and a bag of Rodo pepper at N4500. Also, 25 litres of Groundnut oil sells for N14,200, while palm oil of the same litre goes for N15,000.
In Mushin-Olosha and Oyingbo markets, a bag of rice is sold for N19,000 while a bag of beans goes for 40,000. In the same vein, a bag of cassava flakes goes for N10,000, 25 litres of groundnut oil is sold for N14800, while palm oil is sold for N15600.
A trader at Oyingbo market, Mrs. Sarumi, lamented that the level of patronage in the market has reduced due to the high price of foodstuff adding that, this has inflicted more hardship on them. Mrs. Fatimo Adeyemi, another trader said that majority of traders are facing financial crisis because most of them borrowed money from micro-finance banks to run their businesses but they are not getting returns on their investment because of low patronage. Another trader at Olosha market, Mr. Henry Ugochukwu, said his business used to yield huge profits until the recession period.
One of the customers at Mile 12 market, Mrs. Dorcas Timothy, argued that, the money she spends in buying foodstuffs has doubled compared to last year. She disclosed that she used to buy a bag of rice for her family but since the price has skyrocketed, she can only buy a paint bucket of rice.
A resident in Ajah area of Lagos revealed that, since the recession, feeding her family members has been major challenge saying, “what is most important to the family now is how to feed before thinking of pleasure”.