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Inflation: That’s the price for today – Market traders

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Inflation
Food items display

“I can say that things were normal during Jonathan’s administration. If you had N2 million, you’d be good to start a business, but now, even with N15 million, you cannot start a good business. Renting a shop in the market is expensive now; the least you pay is N500,000. 

“We bought a bag of flour for N54,000; by calculating all the expenses to get it here, we’ll sell at what you see today. I bought two bags of rice yesterday at N78,000 each. Imagine a bag selling for N80,000 today; by the time you return tomorrow, it will be N85,000,” an anonymous businessman at the Bodija Market in Ibadan, Oyo State, told West Africa Weekly yesterday. 

As the economy dwindles and food prices continue to soar, a visit to one of the biggest food markets in Ibadan revealed that the prices of food items change daily because of the current inflation in the country. 

One tagline all the traders had in common when asked about the prices of what they sold was, “.. that’s the price for today.” They said prices of goods change every day as yesterday’s price would not be the same the following day.

Yesterday, Thursday 22, February 2024, a 50kg bag of foreign rice in Ibadan sold for N80,000 and a measure (congo) for N2,700, while locally refined rice sold between N64,00 and N68,000 per bag depending on the brand. 

Other food items like gari sold for N1,300 per congo and N82,000 per bag, maise and beans sold for N70,000 per bag and N1,000 N2,200 per congo, respectively, and wheat sold for N1,100 per congo and N26,000 per bag (the price of purchase as at two weeks ago). 

Sugar was sold for N3,500 per congo and N84,000 per bag; flour was sold between N52,000 and N58,000 per bag and N1,400 to N1,600 per congo, depending on the brand. A 25-litre of vegetable oil was sold at N58,000, a bottle was N1,500, and palm oil was N25,000 for 25 litres. When our reporter expressed shock at the price of the vegetable oil, the seller said the government and everything had changed, too. 

“Everything don change now, Buhari don go na Tinubu dey there now. Na emi lokan dey there, na him we dey see so,” she said in Pidgin.

However, the prices of food items differ a little in the Middle Belt region. West Africa Weekly discovered a bag of locally refined rice sold between N55,000 and N60,000 in Bauchi and Plateau States. A bag of millet was sold for N60,000 in Jos and N65,000 in Bauchi; beans were sold for N100,000 in Jos and N120,000 in Bauchi per bag, while sweet and Irish potatoes sold for N18,000 and N38,000 per bag, respectively in Jos.

The price hike is not off limits, and some fruits were affected, too. One hundred pieces of watermelon sold for N130,000 against the N35,000 a year ago. The watermelon seller was nostalgic as he recalled buying 100 pieces between N10,000 and N15,000 in 2022.

In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, a 50kg bag of rice today sold for N80,000, N70,000 for a bag of beans, 25 litres of vegetable oil, N56,000, a tuber of yam was sold between N3,500 and N4,000, gari sold at N1,200 per congo, one hungry man size of Indomie instant noodles sold for N800 and Indomie belle full goes for N1,300. A piece of egg goes between N150/20,0, and 25 litres of palm oil was between N30,000 and N40,000.

When asked about the possible cause of the constant price hike, the anonymous businessProductionals in flour and sugar said, “Production has gone so low; before now, about seven dealers get two to five trucks of goods in a day, and one dealer would have more than 50 bags, but now we share one truck in a week, and it has just 900 bags to serve over 2 million people. 

“So those who have goods don’t want to sell because they are still determining if they would get a fresh supply. As we are now, before we sell, we must confirm with our dealers how much it is sold from the distributors. Sometimes, they say they would only have goods the following week, so we must manage what we have on the ground. 

So, we have to adjust the price because we are still determining how they would sell to us. So, we don’t know what the problem is, but one thing we know is that production has gone low,” he said.

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