- Traders in major markets across the state, lament the increment in the prices of some goods, few days after New Year celebrations
- Some informed that at the beginning of every new year, various produce in the market usually witness an increase of about 30%, while others blame it on the current economic crisis
- A visit to Boundary, Ajegunle market in Lagos by NAIJ.com correspondent shows the hike in price of provisional items and foodstuffs
- This has therefore led to poor sales on the end of the traders and a reduction in the purchasing power of buyers
Just few days after New Year celebration, the prices of some basic food items have witnessed about 30 percent increment while others have been relatively low.
Some traders opined that at the start of every new year, various manufacturing firms increase the price of their products by 30 percent from the usual price, while others informed that the present administration worsened the situation.
Checks by NAIJ.com at Boundary, Ajegunle market in Lagos showed the hike in price of some foodstuffs and provisional items; resulting to poor sales and a reduction in the purchasing power of buyers.
Provisional items like dairy milk, detergent, noodles, beverages, laundry soaps and cereals increased by 20 percent as observed in the market.
Jane, a trader who spoke with our correspondent said the prices of various commodities in the market have risen as a result of many factors like rise in price of fuel experienced nationwide, weather condition, that leads to availability and non- availability of most farm produce and exchange rates.
“It is a known fact to traders that prices of various foods items usually witness an increment in its prices but this year's own, it is worse. The rise in the price of provisional items like beverages, noodles, detergent and more is disturbing, as it increases daily.
“Just this week, a carton of noodles that cost N1,700 now cost N2,000. A carton of Dano powder milk that cost N5,700 now cost N6,300. While a carton of spaghetti now sells from N3,600 as against its old Price M2,700. The increase in the prices these items have led to a drop in sales because most buyers who patronize us end up buying few cartons,” she said.
Tochukwu, a foodstuff dealer in the market told our correspondent that prices of foodstuffs increased due to the current situation of the economy and the content of the bag.
"The recent increase is as a result of the current situation the country is faced with. And we have witnessed the same last year. But right now, the prices are influenced by the content of bag and the measurements as well.
“For some time now, there is no fixed price of ogbono as the price fluctuates. While the price of egusi is determined by the number of tin-can in the bag. If it is ten tins, the price will be higher, but if it is seven tin, the price will be lower. This applies for handpeel or machine egusi.
“A bag of ogbono cost N130,000 now, but was sold from N95,000-N100,000 before the new year. But a bag of egusi (handpeel) cost N70,000 now and a bag of (machine) cost N45,000. Also, a bag of small dry pepper can be purchased at N55,000 now while a big nylon of crayfish sells between N15,000- N30,000 depending on the measurement and the type,” he explained.
Meanwhile, there was a reduction in the price of rice and beans as observed in the market. A bag of rice that was sold for N19,000 and N17,500, now sells from N16,500- N17,500. And a bag of beans that cost N34,000 now costs N29,000.
Traders see this reduction to the availability of similar food items by various brands that are competitive with the existing ones.
A rice dealer in the market, Clement explained thus: “We have different types of rice now, locally produced ones. They are affordable and of good quality. But one problem we traders have is; purchasing the locally produced ones and reselling it is costly compared to the imported ones. The cost of transporting the locally owned rice is higher than the ones bought from neighbouring countries.
“Also, one good reason why there was a reduction in the price is due to the closeness of the border to the market. Traders in other market sell at a higher price due to the cost of transportation and carriage as well as import duties by customs officials.”
In the same vein, there has been a little increment in the price of garri, especially yellow garri. According to traders, yellow garri became expensive due to the rise in the price of palm-oil.
In the market, a big bag of white garri cost N20,000 and a small bag costs N9,000. A big bag of yellow garri was sold from N22,000 upwards while a small bag costs N10,500.
In a similar development, there was a little reduction in the price of palm-oil and groundnut-oil. This was influenced by low patronage, the size of the container and the brand.
“Palm- oil is expensive because the container is bigger to that of groundnut-oil. The container of palm-oil is 25-litre while that of groundnut-oil is 20-litre.
“Groundnut oil is of two types: the refill ones and the sealed ones. The ones that are sealed are more expensive to the ones refilled. But most buyers prefer the sealed ones due the richness of the oil. This therefore makes it expensive.
“A 25litres of Palm-oil that was sold for N24,000 in previous weeks is now sold for N22,500 and a 20litres of groundnut-oil (refill) that cost N16,000 before, now cost N14,500. While the sealed one cost M18,000,” a trader who pleaded anonymity, explained to our correspondent.
The survey further revealed that price of tomatoes, pepper and chilli pepper has soared by over 15 per cent.
It showed that a big basket of tomatoes which was sold for N7, 000 now sell for N8, 500. Also a medium sized basket of fresh pepper now sells for N7, 000 from N5, 000 while a basket of chilli pepper goes for N7, 500 from N4,500. Surprisingly, the prices of onions have crashed due to excess in supply.
A trader who sells in the market, Abdulahi explained that onion has been available in the market and affordable.
He said: "For some time now, onion has been relatively cheap and this is due to surplus in supply. Also, we have different types of onions, the Niger onion, Nigel onion and the Old onion but now, you get mixed type in the market; the whitish one and the reddish one. The old onion is preferred by many due to its taste in meals, but is scarce for now and expensive.
"A bag of onion that goes for N25, 000 now ranges from N18,000-N20,000. But old onion cost N35,000 and sometimes you will not get it in the market."
The same thing also goes for fruits like oranges, pawpaw, watermelon and cucumber.
Iya Sule, a fruit seller has a different view to the situation in the market.
She is of the opinion that things will return to normalcy this New Year, adding that patronage is encouraging and most customers that traveled during festive period are yet to return, and when they do, sales will improve with the resumption of schools.
In the same market, it was gathered that the prices of yam and potato had remained stable.
Five tubers of big yam that was sold from N6,000, now cost N4,000 while five tubers cost N1,500. For potato, they of two types; the Irish potato and the local potato. According to findings, the Irish potato is no longer available in the market. For the local potato, the price is determined by the size of the bag, how big the potato is and how good the potato is. The price ranges from N7,000- N11,000.
For fish sellers, sales have been very low, as some buyers prefer crayfish to fish now, as observed by our correspondent.
Bose, a fish seller who spoke with our correspondent explained that there is no money in circulation, which thereby affects the consumption pattern of customers. She said what they are experiencing now, is far worse than what they experienced last year.
According to her: “Sales have been very poor. Many customers do not have money, while traders have been turned into bench warmers in the market. Sales have never been this terrible, this is quite unlike what we experienced last year."
She further lamented that the increase in the cost of fish, is one of the reasons customers do not patronize her any longer.
“Last year, fish that was sold from N18,000 now goes for between N25,000 and N28,000. And the ones sold at the rate of N250- 350 now sell for N500 or N700, depending on the type. This is affecting our customers and they are complaining,” Bose added.
A meat seller, who simply identified himself as Alfa Shehu, complained bitterly about the drop in sales due to the poor state of the economy.
“The economy has affected my business and I have to survive also provide for my family. Before now, I make an average of between N10,000 to N15,000 daily; but presently, I stay here till late in the evening before I would be able to sell meat worth N8,000. It is not easy. We are really suffering. The government should assist us.”
In the same market, checks reveal traders only watch people go around pricing goods without buying them.
Iya Sunday, a trader who sells fabric in the market attributed this bad situation to the poor state of the economy and low income of workers.
“Most buyers only walk around the market pricing goods and do not end up buying anything. It is so unusual and this is affecting sales and no one understands the state of the economy now."
Also, for electronics dealers at the market, sales were low because the present administration is frustrating their efforts with different types of policy that hinders their purchasing power.
Joseph a dealer at the market, said that prices of electronics and electrical gadgets were high before now, but has gone higher this New Year.
“There has been increase in the prices of gadgets before now, but it is increasing this New Year. The economic policy of this administration is confusing us as traders, we do not understand. People are spending wisely now. So they are not buying things. Everything is just getting harder by the day. The rise in dollar is frustrating. I just hope things get better this New Year,” he said.
Most traders declined speaking with our correspondent, responding angrily that sales are poor.
Prices determine the demand for every item. Generally, a survey of other goods showed that prices of commodities have been irregular since last year. Some items are still sold twice their prices despite that that the festive season, which influenced their prices increment, is over.
The hike in the price of some other food stuffs is not only caused by the devaluation of the Naira but by the ban placed on them.
Below is our weekly table of price changes before and now: