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Fuel scarcity, Currency re-design, trigger hike in cost of food items in Northwest – NAN Checks



Fuel scarcity, Currency re-design, trigger hike in cost of food items in Northwest – NAN Checks

Fuel scarcity, Currency re-design, trigger hike in cost of food items in Northwest – NAN Checks

By Abdullahi Salihu

Fuel scarcity, poor harvest occasioned by flooding, and the planned re-designing of Naira Notes, have combined to trigger panic-buying of food items in most states of the Northwest.

Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano and Katsina states, reveals that the rush for the items has resulted in near-daily increase in prices.

This development is unfolding in spite of the fact that the last quarter of every year is the harvest season when agriculture produce are supposed to be cheap.

NAN observes that dealers engage in bulk purchase for the purpose of hoarding in anticipation of hyper- inflation which, from all indications, may likely set in during the next few months, if the current indicators are anything to go by.

Malam Hassan Dankasuwa, a trader in Sokoto, said prices of foodstuffs were increasing on a daily basis, attributing this development to scarcity of commodities in the market.

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“Shops in the market that usually supply foodstuffs and other commodities, are half empty.

“The increase in exchange rate of Naira to other foreign currencies, as well as the scarcity of the latter, did not help matters because the largest number of our commodities are purchased from Niger Republic.

“Sometimes, even if you have enough Naira to purchase the needed foreign currency, the traders in Niger Republic are rejecting the Nigerian currency to avoid incurring loses in view of the impending redesigning of the Naira, effective Nov. 15,” he said.

Another trader, Malam Danladi Bello, was of the view that the current hike in prices was abnormal, and that sabotage of government’s laudable efforts at ensuring food security, could not be ruled out.

“We are all aware of how the government at the centre continues to initiate measures to ensure food security and reduce poverty.

“Some people view such commitment as a threat to their business ventures, and therefore, plan to create more hardship,” he alleged.

Bello acknowledged that hike in prices of commodities before and during festive periods as a result of increase in demand was normal, but insisted the current situation was abnormal.

In Katsina State, residents also expressed concern over the astronomical hike in prices of grains, sparking panic-buying by some dealers.

An investigation conducted by NAN in some major grains markets like Dandume, Dayi and Charanchi, indicated that prices of maize, guinea corn, beans, millet, soybeans and rice, were increasing daily.

NAN reports that people are concerned because the abnormal increase is coming at a time when some farmers have just harvested their maize, millet and soybeans, while guinea corn and beans are still in farms in some parts of the state.

NAN price survey in the state indicated that a bag of maize, which was sold at N18,000, few days ago, now costs N22, 000 and above.

A bag of guinea corn costs N16, 000, as against the former price of N14, 000; price of a bag of beans rose to N32,000 as against the previous N29, 000, just as the cost of a bag of millet rose to N20,800, as against N18, 000.

The survey further revealed that 100kg bag of paddy rice sells for N20,000, as against N15,000 few days ago

Alhaji Haruna Muhammad, a grains dealer, said that although price hike was not a new thing, the timing for the current astronomical increase, was frightening.

“We saw some people in Dandume market buying the grains in large quantity, which is unusual; people are saying that the rush was triggered by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign Naira notes.

“These people do not want to take their money to banks, rather, they prefer to engage in panic buying of grains and sell it at higher cost later,” he said.

On his part, Malam Aliyu Umar attributed the situation to less quantity of crops being harvested, particularly maize, because of the high cost of fertiliser.

“They (dealers) want to buy the produce, hoard same and bring them out for sale at higher price in future,” he said.

Malam Aliyu Muhammad, a rice dealer, said that he heard farmers claiming that flood had affected several hectares of rice farm, noting that last year around this period, the cost was about half of its present price.

In Kaduna, prices of food items have continued to hit rooftops as the Yuletide season draws closer.

Malam Abubakar Muhammad, a seller of food items, told NAN that 50kg bag of local rice now costs N33,000, as against its previous price of N28,000.

He said a bag of foreign rice costs N37,000 as against the former price of N31,000, while price of 100kg bag of beans shot to N57,000, from the former N40,000,

Also, Aminu Falalu, a yam seller, said 100 average tubers of yams now cost N110,000, as against the initial price of N90,000.

NAN checks indicated that the situation is the same in Kebbi as prices of some foodstuffs and other essential items have continued to increase in spite of the ongoing harvest of such crops in the state.

A survey carried out by NAN indicated that prices of staple foods such as rice, maize, wheat and gari, had increased by between 10 and 15 per cent in a span of two months.

Chairman of Foodstuff and other Essential Goods’ Association in Kebbi , Alhaji Umaru Dogo, attributed the increase to the current unstable market situation occasioned by continuous fall in the value of Naira.

“In September, we sold 100kg of local rice for between N48,000 and N50,000, but now, we sell it for between N54,000 and N56,000.

“We sold 100kg bag of millet for between N20,000 and N22,000, but it now costs between N22,000 and N23,000, and as for wheat and maize, we sold them for N22,000 and N23,000, but now sells for N23,000 and N24,000 respectively.

“Also, beans was sold for N30,000 previously and now sells for N32,000, while guinea corn, which was sold for N24,000, now sells for N26,000”, he said.

Also in Kano and Zamfara States, prices of some staple foods have continued to increase, placing residents at the receiving end.

Residents who spoke to NAN on the situation blamed this development on scarcity of fuel and poor harvest of agriculture produce recorded this year, as well as the high cost of farm inputs like fertiliser and chemicals.

Dealers in food items and customers said prices had shot up by between 10 per cent and 50 per cent, making things difficult for both sellers and buyers alike.

They, therefore, appealed to the Federal and State governments to work out ways of regulating prices of food items, adding that many breadwinners were finding it difficult to live up to their expectations in the family.

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Fuel subsidy was removed for Nigeria not to go bankrupt – Tinubu




Fuel subsidy was removed for Nigeria not to go bankrupt - Tinubu

Fuel subsidy was removed for Nigeria not to go bankrupt – Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu has said that fuel subsidy was removed to save the country from going bankrupt.

Speaking as one of the panelists at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, April 28, Tinubu said he was convinced it was in the best interest of the people.

He said; “For Nigeria, we are immensely consistent with belief that the economic collaboration and inclusiveness are necessary to engender stability in the rest of the world.

“Concerning the question of the subsidy removal, there is no doubt that it was a necessary action for my country not to go bankrupt, to reset the economy and pathway to growth.

“It is going to be difficult, but the hallmark of leadership is taking difficult decisions at the time it ought to be taken decisively. That was necessary for the country.

“Yes, there will be blowback, there is expectation that the difficulty in it will be felt by greater number of the people, but once I believe it is their interest that is the focus of the government, it is easier to manage and explain the difficulties.

“Along the line, there is a parallel arrangement to really cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on the vulnerable population of the country. We share the pain across board, we cannot but include those who are vulnerable.

“Luckily, we have a very vibrant youthful population interested in discoveries by themselves and they are highly ready for technology, good education committed to growth.

“We are able to manage that and partition the economic drawback and the fallout of subsidy removal.”

The President who stated that fuel subsidy removal engendered accountability, transparency and physical discipline for the country, also talked about exchange rate unification.

According to President Tinubu, the management of the nation’s currency by the government was as well necessary to allow the Naira compete favourably with other world currencies.

He said; “The currency management was necessary equally to remove the artificial elements of value in our currency. Let our local currency find its level and compete with the rest of the world currency and remove arbitrage, corruption and opaqueness.

“That we did at the same time. That is two engine problem in a very template situation for the government, but we are able to manage that turbulence because we are prepared for inclusivity in governance and rapid communication with the public to really see what is necessary and what you must do.”

Fuel subsidy was removed for Nigeria not to go bankrupt – Tinubu

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Naira appreciate, gains further by 1.8% against dollar




Naira appreciate, gains further by 1.8% against dollar

Naira appreciate, gains further by 1.8% against dollar

The Naira experienced a further appreciation at the official market, trading at N1,382.95 to a dollar on Tuesday.

Data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ revealed that the Naira strengthened by N25.09 or 1.78 per cent, compared to the previous day’s rate of N1,408 against the dollar.

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However, the total turnover increased to $245.58 million on Tuesday, up from $222.15 million recorded on Monday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporters’ (I&E) window, the Naira traded between N1,486 and N1,300 against the dollar.

The reports gathered that the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) had, earlier on Tuesday at its 294th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), raised Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), by 200 basis points from 22.75 per cent to 24.75 per cent.

CBN governor Yemi Cardoso said that was meant to tackle the nation’s rising inflation.

Naira appreciate, gains further by 1.8% against dollar

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Petroleum Ministry, NNPC Ltd., others brainstorm on oil, gas development




Petroleum Ministry, NNPC Ltd., others brainstorm on oil, gas development

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources as well as its agencies and parastatals are expected to brainstorm on emerging developments in the oil and gas industry, at a sectoral retreat scheduled to hold in Abuja.

Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said in a statement on Sunday that the retreat would focus on the Ministerial Deliverables (2023-2027) for the oil and gas sector.

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The retreat with the theme: “Building Synergy for Enhanced Development in the Oil and Gas Sector” would hold between March 26 and March 28.

Ogunmakinwa stated that the retreat would also fashion the way forward for the industry as earmarked by President Bola Tinubu.

“In the course of the retreat, heads of agencies under the ministry will be required to make presentations on the mandate, vision and mission of their respective organisations,” she stated.

According to Ogunmakinwa, the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri and the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr Ekperikpe Ekpo will be attending the retreat.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Amb. Nicholas Agbo Ella, Directors in the Ministry, as well as the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Directors from the Agencies under the supervision of the Ministry would also be in attendance.

It would be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had the first year Ministerial Retreat with Ministers, Presidential Aides, Permanent Secretaries and top government functionaries from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, 2023.

The retreat by the president was to chart a path for progress and prosperity of the nation, where he charged the participants to deliver on their mandates for the sake of Nigerians.

Petroleum Ministry, NNPC Ltd., others brainstorm on oil, gas development

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