Border closure, covid-19 disruptions and recent End SARSprotest, which took a violent turn two weeks ago, have led to the fastest yearly rate in food prices as poverty rate continues to accelerate in Africa’s most populous nation.
The average food prices of key staples across major cities in Nigeria have surged by over one year, causing food inflation to hit 16.6% in September – highest in 30 months.
This is happening at a time the country’s poverty rate is nearly 50% due to a command style economic management, bleak oil future and pandemic that has continued to ravage the world.
It also coincides with a period of 56% unemployment and underemployment, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with 14 million jobless youths agitating for a better life.
A business Day survey at some markets in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Onitsha shows that a 50kg bag of parboiled rice sold for an average of N17, 000 in July 2019, now sells for an average of N28,000, including a 65% increase.
Similarly, a 50kg bag of foreign rice, which was sold for an average of N14, 000 before the border closure, now goes for N32, 000 at Lagos markets.
This shows a 129% increase in 14 months. In Onitsha and Aba, South-East Nigeria, a 50kg bag of rice goes for between N28, 000 and N35, 000 today.
“Food prices started galloping when the government shutdown the borders last year. The pandemic further quickened rise in food prices and, now the looting and curfew are fuelling another increase”, Haruna Mohammed, a tomatoes seller said.
Business Day, November 2, 2020
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