Nigerians have expressed fears for a bleak Yuletide if the constant escalation of food prices since the Covid19 lockdowns commenced globally at end of the first quarter of 2020.
The Nigerian inflation rate had risen to 13.71% (year-on-year) in September 2020 indicating 0.49% point higher than 13.22% recorded in August 2020. This was contained in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
However, recent events have combined with the insecurity experienced in farming communities up north and recorded attack on food trucks in the south eastern parts of the country where trailers of onions were cremated by hoodlums, to skyrocket the prices of foodstuff which were already gradually on the rise.
As far north as Kano, Katsina and other prominent places in Northern Nigeria where food items have been relatively less expensive than obtainable in Southern Nigeria, consumers have been lamenting the high cost of staple food stuff in recent days.
These disappointments expressed by those who have had food commodities more available and affordable to them, have doused the enthusiasm of consumers in the south as more food items apart from the scarcity onions have had their prices upped.
Farmers in Zamfara were recently reported as warned by bandits to pay taxes to them or forfeit harvesting and transportation of their farm produce to other parts of the country.
While more and more potential farmers are indicating interests to invest in agriculture, the reality on ground is indicative of a modest Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations in many southern Nigerian neighborhoods.
Like other nations which experienced lockdowns as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, Nigeria’s economy has also taken a hit as lots of commercial activities involving hospitality business especially in travel and tourism have had their incomes reduced as conferences have been replaced with Zoom meetings.
Many of those whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism have been made redundant because of the reduced global and national travels.
Hotels and guest houses have also had their staff strengths reduced to cut operational costs due to lowered patronage.
Reports indicate that 95 percent of incomes of Nigerians earning the minimum wage is spent on food alone. With the situation as evidenced by high good prices, Nigerans are bracing themselves for a bleak Christmas in a few weeks.