Subsidy Removal: Food Prices Rocket

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Prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities have risen? in most markets across the country following?? the? recent?? announcement? of? fuel subsidy removal.

At noon yesterday in Lagos, many?? consumers? were? seen complaining??? of the? increase? in? food prices which prevented them from buying what they?? wanted?? to buy.
While some traders attributed?? the price hike to the removal? of? fuel? subsidy and its? attendant? high cost of transportation, others blamed the rising cost of?? foodstuffs on the high demand during the?? festive? period?? in addition to personal costs incurred by retailers from suppliers.

LEADERSHIP survey showed that prices of fruits like oranges, pineapples and banana have?? risen with a bag of oranges now selling for between N7,000 and N7,500 from? the? previous? N4,000 and N5,000.

A big bunch of banana now goes for??? N1,5000?? and? N2,0000?? from?? the? previous?? N700 and N1,000 while the price of water melon?? has?? increased?? from???? N400? to??? N600.

A? bag? of? rice? now? goes for? N9,500? and? N10,000?? from? the? previous N7,000? and? N7,? 500.
The survey also showed that the price of perishable goods like tomatoes has gone up with a big basket of the commodity selling for between N19,500 and N18,000 as against the former price of between N8,500 and N9,000.

Prices of frozen fish, and vegetable oil have also skyrocketed. The cost of frozen fish has increased with a medium sized fish selling for between N250 and N350 as against N130 and N180, previously.

Mrs. Risikat Yusuf, a fish seller, said the increase in the price of fish in the country was a bad omen. For her, “ Iced fish has never been that costly over the years like what we are experiencing today? because? of? high? cost? of transport?? since? yesterday . Our fish is costly and we don’t know what caused it. Since I have been in this business, I’ve not experienced increase in prices of fish as it is now. The same amount we used to buy a carton now was used for two bags in the past. The smallest fish is between N200 and? N250 as against the initial price? of? N170. Before three?? fishes??? sold for N400.?

Ten litres of foreign vegetable oil, which formerly sold for between N2,800 and N3,000 is now selling for between N4,500 and N5,000 depending on the brand, while a bag of big brown beans now sells for N17, 200 as against the former price ofNI5,000.

Ikechukwu Nnakwe, a trader? said that a tin of powdered Peak Milk now sells for N900 as against the former price ofN650.

According to him, the economy situation of the country is so unbearable that, “we don’t even know what is going on in the country again. Everything is? so?? high? especially? transport? fare. I am confused. I don’t know if?? this? government? wants? us? to? die? in? this? new year ??
Yaya Rabiu, a meat seller, said a cow? was?? sold? yesterday?? for N140,000 as against its initial price of N80,000.? He? said 😕 “We? traders?? are? really? sad? about? what? is? happening,? how?? can?? we? cope? with? all? these? high? costs? of? transport?? and? how? can? we? make? gains? so? that? we? can? feed? our families?”?

Meanwhile, three days into the removal of fuel subsidy, the effect is gradually being felt in the prices of some food stuff? and consumables in Minna, the Niger State capital.
A check by LEADERSHIP revealed that the removal of fuel subsidy has taken its toll on? the prices of yam, tomatoes, pepper and onions which require daily transportation from the producers to major cities in the State.

Whereas the prices of foodstuffs like rice has maintained an upward trend before? the Christmas and new year celebrations, tubers of yam which were maintaining stable price have suddenly gone up.

Five tubers of yam which normally cost between N250 to N500? now sell for N800 to N1,000 in the popular Gwari Market in Minna.

Some of the yam sellers attributed the high cost to the increase in transport fares being paid? by them to transport the commodity from the villages to the city and other markets.

A yam seller who gave her name as? Habiba told LEADERSHIP that “from my village in Shiroro Local Government, a Pick up load of yam used to cost about N3,000 but now we pay as much as N5,000 to N6,000 so we don’t have any option than to increase our price”.

Also, tomatoes, onions and pepper sellers who transport their goods on daily basis from villages attributed the increase in the price of the items to the hike in? fuel price. A medium size basket of tomatoes which used to sell for N3,000 now goes for as much as N5,000.

Similarly, prices of? fish, meat and chicken have also increased while providers of? laundry, barbing, tailoring services were said to be? holding meetings? to? determine current prices for their services just as our visit to some Super markets saw adjustment in the prices of items on display.
Also, traders in Bauchi have vowed to? increase? prices? of their commodities if transportation fares are? increased by transporters to reflect the new fuel price.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP yesterday, the Secretary Wunti Market Traders and Artisans Association, Bauchi Malam Babayo Ahmed, explained that the prices of goods in the market were still normal as at yesterday, but disclosed that traders who made new purchases at higher costs were the only ones that have? increased their prices.

The trader feared that the removal of the subsidy would affect their business negatively because people would be buying only essential commodities.
He therefore called on all trade unions in the country to take immediate action on the matter adding that it would worsen the condition of the people especially the poor ones in the country who were merely? surviving.

Our correspondents gathered that although the price of foodstuffs has not yet risen in Bauchi, the service providers who consume fuel in their businesses such as the okada riders, barbers, grind millers and? welders have however, increased their charges since the announcement of the subsidy removal last Sunday.?
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