Consumers groan as household items, food prices soar

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….as pure water price rises by 45%

By DANLAMI BATURE

CONSUMERS are raising concerns over the incessant rise in commodity prices across various goods especially on food and household items which have taken toll on their income.

The development is impacting negatively on their well-being so much so that others are being impoverished for their inability to meet with the rising cost of living

Also, the price of pure water, mostly consumed by the lower and middle class people in the society has witnessed increment by 20 to 50percent causing much discomfort to millions of consumers who favour the sachet water because of its affordability.

Respondents to National Daily inquiry nationwide, including those in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enuge, among others attribute it to the depreciation of the local currency, naira, as most of the components are imported and the general rise in the inflation level.

Market monitor in Lagos shows prices increasing between 10 and 50 percent on most domestic items. For instance, a bag of pure water which stood at N100 some weeks ago now goes for between N120 to N200 across the country.

National Daily market survey at Mile 12 market showed that a bag of rice now sells for N13, 000 against N10, 500 some weeks ago, while there is also a sharp increase in the price of a bag of beans (drum) which goes for N23, 000 against N21, 000 a few weeks ago.

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Similarly, the price of a bag of garri has gone up to N4, 000 from N3,500 at Oshodi market in Lagos and 25kg of salt which sells for N1,400 now goes for N1,800 at the same market.

Other food items which witnessed some rise include; 25litres of kings vegetable oil which now sells for N8,500 against N7,200; a carton of Indomie noodles sells for N1,500 against N1,300; bag of Ogbono sold at N50, 000 now goes for N85, 000; a bag of dried pepper goes for N45, 000 against N37, 000; a carton of Gino Sachet sells for N2, 400 against N1, 800; a carton of St. Louis sugar goes for N9, 500 against N9, 000 and a packet of Knorr cube now goes for N400 against N350.

National Daily further market research revealed that the price of toiletries and provisions has also increased. A carton of Eva toilet soap now sells for N4, 900 against its previous price of N3, 550, while a roll of Rose toilet tissue, which formerly sold for N2, 100, now sells for N2, 600.

Zubairu Agbola, a trader at Mile 12 market, who deals on grains, attributed the rise to extortions from law enforcement officials.

“We spend as much as N3, 000 tipping off customs at Sango, police and even touts. At the end of the day, we end up spending up to N3, 500 on the road, before the bags gets to the shop. We have to add this to the price of the goods else we won’t make any profit”, he told BusinessDay.

Ebere Nwankwo, another seller at Oshodi market said the price increase is driving customers away.

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“Customers are complaining about the price seriously. Instead of buying as much as they buy before, they end up buying very little saying they don’t have enough money. Most of them just walk away when I tell them the new price and it’s not my fault, I can’t sell less than the price I bought the goods for”, she lamented.

National Daily findings also revealed that the hike in prices of sachet water across the country is as a result of increase in sourcing for packaging materials.

Further findings showed that packaging materials now sells for N5,200 against N3,500 and a film roll now goes for N930,000 against N600,000 sold a week ago.

Consumers who spoke with our reporter are visibly worried over the increase in water which they say is a more essential commodity when compared to the rest food items.

Edozie Umejih, who resides in Ogba area of Lagos said, “I usually buy 5 and half bags of pure water at N350 but two days ago, I bought same for N500. I was told that the cost of buying nylon bags has increased. Something needs to be done about this water issue before it gets worse than this, many of us are barely trying to survive”.

“Pure water workers went on strike on Tuesday and resumed the following day, they increased the retail price and we now buy for N120, instead of N80.

We know everything is expensive so we have been managing to survive but water is different. Water is life and it will be so hard for us if it continues increasing. I don’t know what is happening in this country”, Obumneke Nwaru, a resident in Aba lamented.

Another resident in Abuja is optimistic that prices will reduce soon due to the fall in dollar.

“I buy a bag of pure water for N150 and a sachet for N20, though they sell N120 in some areas in Abuja. I believe things will normalize very soon since the naira is fighting hard against the dollar again”, Anabel Eberendu, a resident in Abuja said.

Ugo Okocha, who resides in Port Harcourt, confirmed the price has increased in the state.

“A bag of pure water is N120 but in some areas, it’s sold for N150. I get scared going to the market these days because I don’t know what awaits me but I try to prioritize and spend wisely”, she stated.

“We usually buy a bag of pure water for N100 but currently it’s sold for between N150 to N200 depending on the area. A sachet of pure water is now N20 instead of N10”, Ijeoma Agbeze, another resident in Akwa Ibom added.

Okechukwu Uche, a Lagos-based businessman said, “Life is becoming tougher by the day in this country. Everything in the country has increased tremendously, you cannot imagined how shocked I was when I went out to buy a common bag of pure water, and was told its N200. With the way things are increasing, I really don’t know where we are heading to as a country.

The story is not any different in Awka, Owerri and Calabar where a bag of sachet water now sells for N120 against N100.

Meanwhile, hawkers of sachet water in Edo state embarked on a protest last week on account of the hike in the prices of sachet water which has reduced their profit to N30 per bag.

Henry Eremokhai, Chairman, water producers in Edo state who said that most factories have shut down owing to scarcity of packaging materials put the agreed price by the association at N120.

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