High Food Prices To Push Six Million Nigerians Into poverty, Says World Bank

The continuous increase in the process of goods and services which was recorded within a one-year period covering June 2020 and June 2021 may force additional six million Nigerians into poverty, the World Bank has said.

The Bank said this in a new report titled ‘COVID-19 in Nigeria: Frontline Data and Pathways for Policy.’

In recent times, the skyrocketing food prices in major cities across the country are being reported with deleterious effects on household budgets.

The series of insurgencies bedeviling the country, especially in the Northern part and pockets of dissentions in some states where most of the essential food items for the nation come from, have also adversely contributed to the ill reports about the astronomic rise for a range of food materials

A visit to Dutse Market in Abuja showed that a cup of palm oil that was sold for N150 now sells between N220 and N250, while a cup of vegetable oil that was sold for N150 now sells for N280.

Other commodities such as Indomie noodles carton now sell for N4,600 (Super pack) against the initial price of N2,400 while a carton of chicken flavour now sells for N2,900 against the previous price of N1,600.

Currently, a pack of the super pack now sells for N120 while a pack of chicken flavour now sells for N100.

A sachet of milk which was sold for N50 now sells for N70, while a kilo of goat and beef previously sold between N1,400 and N1,500 now sell for N2,500 and N2,800.

A trader, Jennifer Imoh, who sells groceries and provisions in the Dutse market lamented, “Before, we used to buy a bag of milk for 3,500, now it is N11,000.

“If you want to buy noodles, a carton goes for N850, but now, we are buying it for N2,500. The loaf of bread that I used to buy from bakers at N200, now sells for a double price because of the high cost of the flour, milk and sugar.”

The World Bank in its report said that the rise in prices underscores the need for short-term policies to support welfare.

The report reads, “The rise in prices witnessed between June 2020 and June 2021 alone could push another six million Nigerians into poverty, with urban areas being disproportionately affected. This underscores the need for short-term policies to support welfare.

“The simple simulations suggest that the share of Nigerians living below the national poverty line could have increased from 40.1 per cent to 42.8 per cent, due to the food price inflation witnessed between June 2020 and June 2021.”

The report further disclosed that there has been low coverage of social protection programmes during the COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria.

For instance, it added that only just four per cent of households had received support from social safety net programs in the form of direct cash transfers from federal, state, or local government between March 2020 and March 2021.

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