Nigerians are now facing more economic hardship as rice, the commonest consumed staple in the country increased to N77,000 per bag.
In December, the National Bureau of Statistics stated that the country’s inflation rate hit a 27-year high as headline inflation rose to 28.9 per cent.
The December headline inflation rate showed an increase of 0.72 percent when compared to the previous month’s rate.
Analysts say the arrowhead of the recent inflation figures is food inflation, which has eroded household incomes in recent months.
The volatile exchange rate system exacerbates the situation, which makes food imports challenging.
The naira has experienced its worst performance against the US dollar, hitting an official rate of N1,500 per dollar at some points.
Sellers of food items in many states in Nigeria lamented that the high cost of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, has risen almost 200%.
Punch reports that long grain rice, which sold for N45,000 AND N50,000 in November 2023, now costs more than N70,000.
The remarkable increase in commodity prices has caused a nationwide hardship, leading to Nigerians protesting the high cost of living in many parts of the country.
From Kano to Niger, Rivers to and Osun, residents protested the hardship on the streets.
In Niger State, for instance, residents of Suleja took to the street last Wednesday to register their displeasure over the high cost of living in the country. Wednesday’s protest came two days after a similar protest in Minna, the state capital.
In Lagos, some residents, who spoke to one of our correspondents, lamented that the incessant increase in the prices of foodstuffs had strained their finances.
This is as they urged the government to intervene before things got out of hand.
A mother of two, Mrs Mede Orunmade, said this present situation had made life unbearable for her and her family.
Orunmade stated that it was as though the country was at war, adding that the hike in the prices of foodstuffs was continuous.
She said, “It has been a hard time for me and my family. The country hasn’t been in the right position for the past eight months. I have been struggling with my family to clear up our electricity bills. Coupled with the ever-rising price of foodstuffs, I don’t know if I am going to survive.
“I used to operate an online business but it has packed up. There’s no gain on any business in Nigeria like before anymore. I am just striving to survive.
“The surprising thing is that a small carton of noodles is now N7,000 to N7,800. We used to buy it for between N1,900 and N2,000 in the past. It is so shocking that the price of a bag of rice continues to change almost every minute.
“A bag of rice five months ago was around N49,000, but it increased to N68,000. As of yesterday (Thursday), my supplier said it had risen to N70,000. The cheapest thing we used to buy before, garri, is now N2,500 for a paint bucket. It was N800 before.”
Another Lagos resident and father of four, Mr Taiwo Babatunde, said he could no longer afford to feed his family like he used to.
He asked the government to come to her aid, as her suffering was becoming too much.
A housewife simply identified as Wunmi said, “The government needs to come to our aid now as everything is very hard. A bag of beans is now N65,000, which is three times the price it used to be. Also, groundnut oil is now N8,400 for four litres, and a bag of rice is now N70,000.
“This is getting too much. We hope the government will come to help us.”
Further findings by our correspondents revealed that a kilogramme of Semovita, which sold for N800 four months ago, now sells for N1,200.
The price of beans also increased from around N1,500 to N4,200 per tin.
Labour unions issued a strike notice to the Nigerian government to register their displeasure over the high cost of living in the country.
Despite the Nigerian government ordering the distribution of grains and other items from the grains reserves to ease the biting effects of the hardship, analysts have said that the measure could be better under the current situation.