Some food vendors in Lagos State have decried the rising cost of food items in the country.
According to them, sales have dropped marginally in recent weeks as they no longer get patronage from their customers as they used to.
In separate interviews with THE WHISTLER in the Agege area of the state on Friday, they said that things have not been the same since the removal of petrol subsidy and called on the Federal Government to subsidize agricultural products to deflate prices of food items in the market.
It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had on May 29 during his inaugural speech after taking oath of office, announced the removal of petrol subsidy, which gulped billions of Naira monthly.
A food vendor, Fathia Akinleye, lamented that she is running at a loss, because she still sells food of N200, so as not to lose most of her customers.
“The price of foodstuffs have gone up; it’s higher than what we were getting them before,” Akinleye told THE WHISTLER. “A bag of rice before was N33,000, but now we’re buying it for N43,000.”
While calling on the government to do something about the rising cost of food items in the country, Akinleye explained that food items she used to buy with N25,000, she now spends more than twice that amount.
Customers are complaining, because instead of increasing the price, we reduced the quantity of the food we serve, said Abosede Michael, another food vendor.
Before now, Michael said she used to make about N60,000 per day, but in the past few weeks, it has dropped to N20,000, adding that sometimes she does not even make up to N20,000.
“If we should sell based on the cost of food items in the market, people (customers) will run away from us,” she said.
Also, a food vendor who identified herself as Mrs Chidimma, told THE WHISTLER that because of the hike in the price of rice, she had to switch to yam on Thursday.
“A bag of rice is now forty thousand Naira or thereabout. We don’t have much customers again,” said Chidimma.
“As you can see, I divert(ed) to yam yesterday, because of the price of rice. If you cook rice, they don’t buy it as they used to,” she said.
Chidimma who said prior to now she sold N150 food to her customers, has increased food price to between N200 and N250.
She also told THE WHISTLER that a tuber of yam that was previously sold for N800 or N1,200, is now between N2,200 and N2,500.
Nigeria has been experiencing steady rise in inflation. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 22.79 percent in June. This represents an increase of 0.38 percent points when compared to 22.41 percent recorded in May.
During the period under review, food inflation rate was 25.25 percent on a year-on-year basis; representing 4.65 percent points increment when compared to 20.60 percent recorded in June 2022.
“The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of Oil and fat, Bread and cereals, Fish, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Fruits, Meat, Vegetable, Milk, Cheese, and Eggs.
“On a month-on-month basis, the Food inflation rate in June 2023 was 2.40 percent, this was 0.21 percent points higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 (2.19%). The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending June 2023 over the previous twelve month average was 24.03 percent, this was 5.41 percent points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in June 2022 (18.62%),” NBS said.
Also on a year-on-year basis, Lagos trailed Kwara (30.80%), in terms of food inflation with 30.37 percent.
Findings by THE WHISTLER showed that a bag of rice, which used to be sold for N29,000, is now N43,000. A bag of white garri, which was previously N13,000 is now N20, 000, while a ‘paint’ of beans is N2,200.