Nigeria: Prices of Food Stuff Continue to Soar Despite Lifting of Inter-State Travel Ban

Prices of foodstuff in markets across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have continued to soar despite the lifting of the inter-state travel ban.

Earlier, during the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, most traders complained that the inter-state lockdown was the reason for the increase in prices of foodstuff as transport fares for moving goods during the time went up.

But our reporters, who monitored some markets, observed that prices of goods are still going up despite the fact that blockades that impeded movement and encouraged extortion from security agencies have been removed and the roads are free.

Market survey revealed that a measure of brown beans is sold for N400 while that of white beans is sold for between N300 and N350.

Local rice now goes for N650 while foreign rice is sold between N850 and N900, while Garri is now between N230 and N250 while the yellow one remains at N300.

Prices of cereals like millet, corn and maize have also gone up.

A trader in Kuje market, Madam Chimdum said, the wholesale prices of all the food items have gone up adding that for instance, despite the lockdown, we were selling foreign rice for N800 and local between N500 and N600 but the foreign is now N900 and local N650 and N700.

"We cannot afford to sell below cost price because of how we buy the goods.

"If we do so, we will be running at a loss.

"The transportation is also still high because the number of people in the vehicle has been reduced thereby increasing the cost of transportation," she explained.

A yam seller, Hajia Salamatu, who said five medium pieces of yam now sell for between N3000 and N3500 as against N2000 and N2200 during the lockdown said, there is no yam for now and new yam is yet to come out.

"This is the season that yam is expensive because old yam is going out and new yam will soon come.

"Getting it to buy is difficult and expensive. We also pay double the price of transportation now as against what we were paying before," he added.

Also, the Chairman of Yam Sellers at Karu Market, Abuja, Ibrahim Abubakar, said the price of yam is still high in the market and attributed the situation to the scarcity of the commodity.

"It is not about transporting it or the issue of interstate lockdown.

"The problem has gone beyond this.

"Even the farmers have increased the prices and we also have to add ours to sustain the profit," he said.

On her part, Rabi Sulaiman, who sells grains told City News that even after lifting the interstate travel ban, the impact on prices of essential commodities will take weeks to manifest.

"It will take time before things will be back to normal.

"Our transporters are moving but generally, the lockdown has impacted almost everything and the negative impact will linger," she said.

Micheal Eze who sells garri said the prices have increased.

He said: "The security operatives on the road were extorting money from our transporters and this had a huge impact on our pricing.

"We had to adjust in order to get profit.

"The way this problem has entered into the market chain, it will take two to three weeks before we start seeing the impact of the lifting of the ban".

Buyers also lamented on the cost of goods in the market, saying that it was taking a toll on their budgets.

With the new petrol pump price that has been increased, and with the practice of social distancing measure introduced by the government for commercial vehicles, many said, the prices of foodstuff will continue to be on the high side unless something urgent is done to curtail it.

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