As the Ramadan fast starts today, the prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities have escalated in most markets across the country, according to a national survey conducted by our correspondent.
The Tide correspondents, who monitored market prices in some state capitals, report that the prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and beverages that are in high demand during the Ramadan fast had soared.
Traders attributed some of the reasons for the hike in price to the Ramadan fast, the increase in the minimum wage of workers, high cost of transportation and increase in the cost of diesel, amongst others.
The Tide’s source in Birnin Kebbi the Kebbi capital, who visited some markets in the town, reports that the prices of rice, beans, fruits, beverages, cooking oil had gone up.
Some traders in the market visited, attributed the rising cost of fruits to “high demand during the Ramadan fast, increase in the minimum wage of workers, in addition to personal costs incurred by retailers from suppliers”.
The survey in some markets in Kebbi showed that the prices of a bag of the various brands of imported rice had gone up to between N9,500 and N10,000 as against the former price of between N7,500 and N8,000 some days ago.
Similarly, a bag of beans, which formerly sold for between N6,500 and N7,000 had also increased to N8,000.
The price of fruits like oranges, pineapples and banana had also witnessed increases with a bag of oranges being sold for between N7,000 and N7,500 from N4,000 and N5,000 some few days ago.
A big bunch of banana is sold for between N700 and N1,000, while the price of water melon remained fairly stable at between N150 and N200.
Malam Muhammadu Bala, who deals on fruits in Kara market in Birnin Kebbi metropolis, attributed the rising cost of fruits to “the Ramadan fast, increase in the minimum wage of workers, in addition to personal costs incurred by retailers”.
The survey also showed that the price of perishable goods like tomatoes had gone up with a big basket of the commodity selling for between N9,500 and N12,000 as against the former price of between N8,500 and N9,000.
An Islamic scholar in Birnin Kebbi, Sheikh Abubakar Giro, who decried the high cost of foodstuff at the start of the Ramadan period, appealed to traders to shun the craze to make quick money during the period.
The Tide correspondent in Onitsha, Anambra, reports that prices of imported food items like rice, frozen fish, and vegetable oil moved up by 10 per cent during the last few days.
The cost of frozen fish had increased with a medium sized fish selling for between N250 and N350 as against the former price of between N130 and N180.
Ten litres of foreign vegetable oil, which formerly sold for between N2,800 and N3,000 is now selling for between N3,500 and N4,000 depending on the brand, while a bag of big brown beans is now being sold for N17, 200 as against the former price of N15,000.
The prices of fruits such as oranges, water melon and cucumber had also witnessed increases.
Like in the other states visited, the prices of foodstuffs like rice and essential commodities like eggs, milk, sugar, onions and fruits had increased in Gombe State.
Malam Muhammad Sanusi, who deals on provision in the state capital, told our source that 50 kg bag of foreign rice now cost N10,000 as against the former price of N8,500 while the price of a crate of eggs has increased from N700 to N800.
A tomato seller, Malam Buba Muhammadu, said the price of a basket of tomatoes had gone up to N7,000 as against the old price of between N6,000 and N6,500.
Sanusi attributed the hike in the cost of these items to the Ramadan fast and the N18,000 new minimum wage for workers.
Malam Abdulkarim Ahmed, Chairman, Fruit Sellers Association in Gombe, told our correspondent that the price of a bag of oranges had gone up from N5,000 to N7,000.
He said that the same apply for the other fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, water melon, banana, apple and cucumber.
Our source in Kano State reports that while the prices of fruits such as oranges, banana and water melon had slightly appreciated, the price of grains was either stable or had slightly reduced.
He said that one orange sell for between N20 and N30 as against the fornmer price of N10 to N15, while a bunch of banana sell for between N400 and N450, depending on the type and size.
However, unlike fruits, the price of grains had either remained stable or gone down in Kano. At Dawanau grains market and Kwanar Singer market in the ancient city, a measure of beans still sell for between N270 and N300, depending on the type.
The price of millet, sorghum and maize had stabilised at N150 per measure, while the price of sugar, a commodity in high demand during the fasting period, had reduced from N720 to N600 per measure and N8,000 per bag, as against N10,000.
From Uyo Akwa Ibom capital, the survey showed that the price of foodstuff had generally witnessed slight increases.
However, traders in Uyo, who spoke on the issue, said the price hike was not as a result of the Ramadan fast, but due to the introduction of the new minimum wage and increases in the cost of transportation
At Akpan Andem Entrepreneurial market in Uyo, the survey showed that the price of rice had gone up by six per cent.
Mr Udoh Obot, who deals on rice in the market, told our reporterthat the price of 50 kg bag of Stallion rice is now selling for N8,000 as against the old price of N7,500.
He said that the 100 kg bag of brown beans sell for N17,000 as against N15,500 two months ago.
Similarly, the price of beverages had escalated in Uyo with a 450g of dry peak milk selling for N700 as against the old price of between N600 and N650.
Emem Udofia, a sales girl in the market, said a tin of 450g of Bournvita sell for N550 while Ovaltine of the same quantity sell for N650 while a packet of St Louis sugar goes for N220 instead of N200 a month ago.
Udofia attributed the reasons for the price hike to the N18,000 new minimum wage for workers announced by the Federal Government.
“Since the government has increased the income of workers, we traders have no choice, but to increase the cost of our goods to meet with other expenses,” she said.
From Auchi in Edo, the survey showed that the while the price of rice and fish had gone up, those of other staple had remain relatively stable.
For instance, the price of a 50 kg bag of the various brands of rice had jumped from N6,500 to N7,500, while the price of fish also increased.
Mrs Mariamu Alasa, who sells fish in Auchi, told our source that the price of 20 kg carton of Sabina fish had increased from N4,500 last week to N5,000.
She attributed the hike to increase in the price of diesel and transportation.
“We only sell as we buy and like they told us in the cold room where we buy, the high cost of diesel is responsible for the price increase,” she said, adding that the price may increase further as the Ramadan fast approaches.
The survey also showed that the prices of tomatoes and onions had increased astronomically in Auchi and is expected to further increase as the fasting period approaches.
For instance, a basket of Hausa tomatoes had gone up by N2,000 within the last two weeks with tomatoes selling for N6,000, as against the former price of N4,000, while the price of a bag of onions had gone up to N8,000 from N7,000.
Mrs Akpete Osakwe, who sells tomatoes at Auchi market, attributed the increase to scarcity since tomatoes and onions were not harvested during the rainy season.
Meanwhile, some residents of Port Harcourt, the River capital, had expressed concern over the daily hike in the cost of foodstuffs and other essential commodities in the Garden City.
“If things continue this way, it will be extremely difficult for the unemployed to survive in Port Harcourt in the nearest future,” Mr Owus Ibinabo, one of the concerned residents, told The Tide’s source.
Mrs Ann Johnson another resident of the city, lamented that the since the introduction of the new minimum wage, the cost of food items and other commodities had sky rocketed in the city.
“The cost of commodities like sardine, maggi, onions, spices and other foodstuff have sky rocketed since traders heard of the minimum wage,” she said.
Worried by this daily increases, Mrs Ngozi Telema, who resides in the city, urged the government to intervene by setting up price control mechanism to avert “this indiscriminate hike in the prices of commodities”.
From Abakaliki in Ebonyi, the survey showed that the price of rams and other items had also increased with an average sized ram, which cost N13,000 some few weeks ago, now selling for N15,000, while the cost of a big ram jumped from N18,000 to N20,000.
Eight gallons of rice, which sold for N2, 500 had attracted additional N300, while a bag of beans had increased from N10,000 to N12, 000.
The price of a gallon of red oil has jumped from N4,400 to N5,000, while a gallon of groundnut oil increased to N4,700 from N4,400.
Mr Chukwudi Ibeh, a trader at Abakpa Main Market in Abakaliki, attributed the increase in prices of the commodities to the “harsh economic condition in the country”.
“Ebonyi like other Southern states of the country is dominated by Christians, so the Ramadan fast will not have much effect on the prices of goods in these states.
“The increases are due to the harsh economic condition in the country, which has led to inflation,” he said.
Ilorin the Kwara capital is not left out in escalating cost of food items and other essential commodities as the Ramadan fast draws nearer.
The survey showed that the cost of foodstuffs like rice, beans, semovita, yam and other ingredients had gone up in the town with a bag of Semovita selling for N1,700 instead of N1,450.
A food stuff seller, at Ipata market, Mrs Florence Adeoti, attributed the hike to the forthcoming Ramadan fast.
Mrs Memunat Yahaya-Mohammed, a house wife, who bemoaned the increases in the cost of food foodstuffs, said she could no longer maintain the food needs of her family of three.
She pleaded with the government to revive the Price Control Board to check the activities of shylock food sellers in order to make food affordable.
Unlike in most states in the country which recorded increases in the cost of foodstuffs and other commodities, the survey showed that the price of foodstuffs and other essential commodities had remained stable Damaturu, the Yobe capital.
For instance, the price of 50 kg bag of foreign rice had not changed from N8,000, millet still stands at N5,000 per a 100 kilogramme, while a bag of sugar still sell for N9,500.
Meanwhile, scarcity of tomatoes, pepper and fruits in Damaturu had led to the increase in their prices beyond the reach of the common man.
Malam Muhammadu Danfulani, a vegetable dealer on Gashua road told NAN that cost of the tomatoes and pepper sold in the state were from Plateau and Benue states.
“They (vegetables) are only scarce, but the money expended on transporting them to Yobe is very expensive,’’ he said, adding, “the multiple tax paid on these commodities have also increased their prices.”
Muhammadu expressed fears that the situation may get worse during the Ramadan fast period when the demand for the vegetables would become high.
Osinbajo Solicits Support For FG’s Housing Scheme
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged financial market experts to support the Federal Government’s efforts by developing an appropriate housing finance model that will significantly transform the housing sector on a large scale.
Osinbajo stated this on Monday when he received, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, a delegation from the Financial Markets Dealers Quotations Group (FMDQ) led by its Chief Executive Officer, Bola Onadele; who came alongside a delegation from the Independent Petroleum Producers Group.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Let’s unlock Nigeria’s housing deficit, Osinbajo tasks financial market experts.’
Economic experts posit that the housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated between 18-22 million housing units, while the ratio of mortgage finance to GDP in the country is only 0.5 per cent, it is 31 per cent in South Africa and two per cent in Ghana and Botswana.
In his address, the Vice President said, “I like the point you made about the National Housing Blueprint. I very strongly believe that if we can unlock the conundrum in the sector, we can get things working.
“In our ESP, we have something on social housing but one of the critical issues there is how to market these houses, how we can provide the finance so that people can afford to buy them. These are houses that are in the order of about N2 million or N2.5 million.
“But there are still constraints on account of the fact that we just do not have anything like a feasible housing finance model, I think it is time for us to do so. It just looks like it has always escaped our capacity to find a real solution to the problem”.
Speaking on the possibility of having a model that will work, Osinbajo noted that “everyone recognises that we are in very challenging times. But I agree with you that the sheer range and vastness of our potentials make it seem almost intuitive that we are bound to succeed.
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that given the right mix of policy initiatives, we can get these things done. And your characterization of what needs to be done like attracting capital and sustaining it is so important because ultimately, capital will go where it is best treated.
“And if we are able to attract it (because we have the market, we have everything going for us), even in the worst of times, despite the situation, you find that there is still a great deal of interest.”
Speaking earlier, Onadele said the visit was to inform the Vice President about the transformation taking place in the FMDQ and the need for government support in growing the financial market for the benefit of Nigerians and the economy.
Nigerians Spent N2.33trn On Petrol In 13 Months – NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday said that the total revenue generated from the sale of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at N2.35tn.
Out of this amount, the corporation disclosed, Premium Motor Spirit contributed about 99.61 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.34tn.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Garba-Deen Muhammad, said the figures were contained in the May 2021 edition of the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report.
The statement was titled, “NNPC records crude oil, gas sales of $219.75m in May …posts N295.72bn from sale of petroleum products”
It read in part, “Total revenues generated from the sale of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at N2.345tn where Premium Motor Spirit contributed about 99.61 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.336 trillion.
“In terms of volume, the figure translates to a total of 2.241 billion litres of white products sold and distributed by PPMC in the month of May 2021 compared with 1.673billion litres in the month of April 2021.”
Total sales of petroleum products for the period May 2020 to May 2021 stood at 18.65 billion litres and PMS accounted for 99.69 per cent of total volume.
The corporation also recorded a total crude oil and gas export sales of $219.75m in May this year.
The $219.75m represents an increase in sales of 180.29 per cent when compared to the previous month of April this year.
The report stated that crude oil export sales contributed $181.19m (82.45 per cent) of the dollar transactions compared with $4.22m contribution in the previous month, while the export gas sales component stood at $38.56m in May 2021.
Forex: CBN To Engage Crime Agencies To Fight Fraudsters
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to engage financial crime fighting agencies to pursue fraudsters who have been deceiving the banks with fake documents to buy foreign exchange at cheap rates and sell at higher rates at the black market.
The apex bank had, few weeks ago, stopped selling forex to Bureau De Change operators and asked legitimate travellers to approach the banks to access cheap forex.
This is against the backdrop that many customers have been deceiving commercial banks with fake documents to obtain the forex at cheaper rate, and prevented genuine travellers from gaining access to forex.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had in an earlier statement, said that the BDCs defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail users and had become wholesale and illegal dealers.
“They have remained renegade and so greedy, recalcitrant with abnormally high profit from these sales, while ordinary Nigerians have been left to feel the pain and therefore suffer,” the CBN boss said.
Emiefele had posited that the CBN had maintained its stand to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs.
He urged Nigerians with legitimate business to approach the banks for cheap forex.
According to him, travellers could access up to $4,000 for personal travelling allowance and $5,000 for business travelling allowance.
Findings, however, showed that commercial banks have been reporting fraudulent forex demands to the CBN.
Confirming this, the CBN governor said, “We conducted a study; one of the banks in one day sold to 52 people who said they wanted to travel. After two weeks, they went to check, 40 out of the 52 had cancelled their tickets.
“How could you have a situation where about 70 per cent or 80 per cent who went to bank to buy BTA on the reason that they want to travel, banks sold to them, they turned back and went and sold to the black market. They were asked to return it and we are going to pursue you if you are involved in these nefarious activities.
“If you go to bank with fake visa, fake passport, we have told them not to sell to you. If they sell to you mistakenly, and after two weeks, we check and find that you cancelled your ticket or your visa is fake, they will call you because you are their customer.
“They have your BVN, they have your number, they will call you to return the dollars. If you do not return it, they will place your name on their website, your BVN on their website, we will pick those details.
“We will send them to EFCC and other crime agencies, they will pursue you and you must return the dollars because you cannot acquire it illegally. That is our position”.
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