- As Easter approaches, the prices of basic staple food items in major markets in Lagos have soared
- A survey conducted by NAIJ.com at Agege Main Market, Lagos reveals the rise in the prices of food items like Garri, Crayfish, Ogbono and Fruits
- The exorbitant price of goods in the market have rendered traders helpless
- Despite the dollar fall, consumers lament the rising cost of goods in the market
While some traders at some major market, expressed delight in the interventions the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had made so far in boosting liquidity, adding that its sustenance would turn the economy around in the short to medium term others lament the increasing cost in the prices of goods lately.
Some concerned Nigerians have hailed the effort of the CBN in boosting liquidity at the FOREX market, but added that the liquidity boost had not yet translated to the reduction in the price of goods and services.
Survey conducted by NAIJ.com, reveals the rise in the price of basic food items like Beans, Garri, Ogbono, Egusi, Crayfish and a slight reduction in the prices of other food items as Easter approaches.
A rice dealer, Nzefili said although the naira was appreciating in value against major international currencies, but he would not sell the products below the cost price of purchase.
“It is good news that the naira is gaining strength against the dollar but as a retailer, we still buy our goods at the same old price. So, the amount used in the purchase of these items determines the cost price they will be sold.
" A bag of Olo one beans that cost between N24,000-N28,000, now goes for N28,000. While a bag of Olootu beans that cost NN35,000 before, now cost N40,000. Also, a bag of Agric rice that cost N16,000, now goes for N16,500 while same goes for Agric rice. The cost of a bag of Garri (white) that goes for N15,000 before, has increased to N16,000 upwards.
“The price of the items fluctuates, because the foreign exchange does not really influence it rather the content of the bag and the trader’s choice. Some traders reduce the content of the rice or beans by three derica and thereby reduces the cost prices to the consumer. They in turn leave the trader ignorant, thinking the goods are affordable and cheaper. So you can still get the some items at an expensive price now, depending on the market and the quantity to be purchased. As at now, the prices of most food items continues to soar and I have to sell my products to make some gain,’’ he informed.
At the market, the secretary to Baba Oloja of Agege main market, Mrs Arinola J.P,told our correspondent that sales has drop and the appreciation of Naira has not reflected in the price of goods so far.
She said: “Since the recent appreciation of Naira, the prices of major goods in the market continue to rise and traders are complaining bitterly. Because, they pay so many bills in the market, and if they do not make sales, how will they cope?.
“It has been so difficult for some of us because, customers who patronise us before no longer do so now. When they come; hear the price, they leave immediately: because they are also affected. The amount we spend in purchasing some items before has increased by 40% lately.”
A foodstuff dealer, Nonso explained that consumers expected the prices of goods to drop immediately after dollar depreciates.
“The prices of goods would not drop immediately because the traders needed to sell off their old stocks which they brought when the naira had low value. A bag of Ogbono that cost between N90,000- N115,000. And a bag of Egusi (hand peel) that goes for N42,000 before, now cost N45,000. And a bag of Egusi (machine) that cost N38,000 now cost N55,000 because the bags differ from each other. The bag for hand peel is smaller while that of machine is bigger.
“I have some goods in my shop which I believe I will sell before the prices of things will go down completely,’’ Nonso said.
Adebiyi, who sells different types of building materials at the market, said before the end of the month the prices of goods would drop.
Adebiyi appealed to people to showing understanding with traders because most of their goods were brought in late last year and early this year, when the value of the naira was low.
According to him, it is not the best of times for dealers in building material products as business activities have remained relatively low. Prices of some materials had dropped since the naira had appreciated in value.
“Builders should wait till prices dropped considering that building materials were not like foodstuffs that perished in a short time. They should suspend their building work till the prices of things come down, I am sure soon, we will experience a reduction in prices of goods,’’ he added.
Findings by NAIJ.com showed that traders in the food items capitalised on the huge demand and recession for the items to raise their prices and make extra profits, while others aimed to cover the losses they incurred as a result of low patronage.
NAIJ.com recently paid a visit to Bariga market in Lagos state to find out new prices of goods and the revelations were captured below:
Further checks revealed that the prices of staple foods like perishable items, tomato paste, vegetable oil, meat, vegetables and soup ingredients had increased significantly.
A soup ingredient seller, who identified himself simply as James, said the price of an average basket of tomato had shot up by 60 per cent from N4,500 to N8,000 same goes for pepper (Rodo and Tatase) that was sold between N7,000- N9,000 but has risen to N10,000 upwards.
While the bag of old and new onions have reduced. But this depends on how fresh the items are and the size of the basket.
A trader at the Market who pleaded anonymity, said the price of a 25-litre keg of vegetable oil, which was sold for N14,000 a month ago, had increased marginally to N14,500.
Similarly, it was gathered that the price of a 25-litre keg of palm oil has risen from N12,500 to N13,500 at the same market. Same applies to tomato paste and other soup ingredients.
“A carton of Gino tomato paste that cost N1,600 has increased to N2,700. Same goes for other tomato products. A carton of Tasty tom tomato paste also cost N2,700. While the price of Golden Penny Spaghetti slim cost N3,600.
A distributor of tomato products, identified as Mr Jude, told our correspondent that the wholesale price of the item has been relatively stable, but added that retailers had marked it up a little so as to make extra profits.
“The market price of rice has been stable for some time now and we have not experienced exceptional demands in comparison with previous months. And there was a report that the relatively stable prices of food items despite the devaluation of the naira was due to massive food production initiatives introduced by the government few months ago,” he explained.
A fruit seller at the market, Iya Laide, told our correspondent that the prices of fruits have increased lately, adding that the size of the fruit and the bag influences it.
She said: “It was expected for fruits like Mango, water-melon, banana and pineapple, to increase even as others reduce. Their prices is not influenced by the exchange rate but because they are not purchased with international currencies. But the cost of transportation and the cost of the chemicals used in planting and growing them, make the fruits expensive. Also, the market forces determine the price of the fruits.
“Fruit like mango that just came out this season is very expensive and even water melon while apple that is imported have become cheaper and available. A bag of big mangoes that cost N3,000 before, now goes for N5,000 and small ones cost N2,000. While that of water melon varies, depending on the size of the bag, water melon and quantity. A dozen of small water melon ranges from N2,000 upwards while the big one ranges from N7,000 upwards".
At the same market, a meat seller, Mr Mufu, said the price of the animals, had risen by about 50 per cent from what it was in previous years.
“The biggest cow, which was sold then between N150,000- N250,000, now sells from N300,000 upwards, while the smaller ones can be purchased from N70,000 upwards. The increase have resulted to a reduction in the profit margin as some people prefer to buy fish rather than beef as it is too expensive and since there is no money in circulation, they opt for what their money can afford,” he said.
Below is our weekly table of changes in price of goods before and now: