The sudden withdrawal of fuel subsidy, along with increasing inflation and the devaluation of the naira, has resulted in a drastic surge in prices for goods and services. This unfortunate situation has pushed numerous Nigerians into a desperate battle for survival, increasing prices of essential items like food, medication, and other household necessities during the festive season has been met with widespread outcry from the people. Obadore mini-market traders encountered a similar situation as they grappled with the adverse effects of a depreciated currency, causing instability in the prices of their diverse stock of food products.
Among these traders, one individual laid blame on the government, criticizing their lack of sufficient countermeasures prior to implementing bold economic decisions. Before the incumbent administration, it was stated that the cost of essential food commodities was notably lower in comparison to the current predicament. In April, a sack of rice was obtainable at an approximate price of ₦28,500. However, currently, it fluctuates between ₦52,000 to ₦55,000. Similarly, during the same timeframe, a container of vegetable oil was retailed at ₦32,000, whereas presently it is priced at ₦42,000. She said the price of garri had skyrocketed from ₦18,000 to ₦28,000 per bag.
Cost of basic household items, pharmaceuticals are rising.
Similarly, cow sellers are also feeling the harsh aftermath of fuel subsidy removal as well. Olalekan Oluwafemi, a farmer residing in Lagos State’s Ikotun neighbourhood, shared that the majority of cows sold in Nigeria originate from Niger and Katsina. He explained that the elevated costs of transporting the livestock, coupled with the ongoing insurgency, have caused the price of cows to skyrocket. In addition to the increased cow demand during the festive season, the transportation expenses for bringing a cow from Katsina have skyrocketed from ₦20,000 earlier this year to approximately ₦60,000.
Many religious houses are also affected as they have scaled down the number of cows they now purchase. The market dynamics have experienced a significant shift, as the cost of a large cow skyrocketed from approximately ₦400,000 in September to an ₦750,000 to ₦800,000 for a similar size presently. In addition to the increasing cost of basic household items, the consistent surge in pharmaceutical prices has compounded the myriad challenges faced by Nigerians. Also, the departure of a prominent pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, in August, has elevated the costs of numerous medications. For instance, the price of Xalatan eye drops, previously available for ₦1,500, has shot up to ₦12,500 as of November.
Nigerians have been compelled to reassess their expenses.
In October, the Central Bank of Nigeria reported the inflation rate at 27.3 percent. This surge has significantly impacted the cost of living, adversely affecting the living standards of both the affluent and the underprivileged. Consequently, numerous Nigerians have been compelled to reassess their expenditure and modify their lifestyles accordingly. Ghana and numerous other nations have seen reductions in inflation rates, but Nigeria continues to witness an alarming and relentless surge, causing immense suffering among its population. Economic experts have warned that by December, inflation could soar to 30 percent, further exacerbating the hardships faced by Nigerians.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, if there are no additional increases in petrol prices or devaluation of the naira, inflation is expected to decrease from approximately 28.7 percent by the end of 2023 to an average of 23.6 percent in 2024. In December 2023, the World Bank released the Nigerian Development Update, a report that highlighted the need for economic adjustments by the government to fully capitalize on the advantages brought by the bold reforms. Alongside sustaining and fully implementing these reforms, it emphasized the importance of taking additional complementary actions.
Capitalizing on the reforms can establish basis for long-term growth.
Moreover, the report indicated that the elimination of the petrol subsidy and the implementation of FX reforms have created a chance for significant positive changes in the lives of countless Nigerians. By effectively capitalizing on and further developing these reforms, a strong basis for long-term growth can be established, with far-reaching benefits. As the government implements robust measures and numerous reforms, Nigerians anxiously anticipate the tangible impact these changes will have on their everyday lives.