As the Yuletide season draws near, there is an air of uncertainty among the majority of the population as Nigeria’s inflation is set for the eighth consecutive monthly decline, yet financially embattled Nigerian consumers, face a high cost of living.
Some analysts have argued that the dilemma surrounding the 2021 Christmas celebration is expected because Nigeria is still dogged by gruesome killings, incessant kidnapping, inclining debt, insecurity, unemployment, terrorism, exorbitant food prices, high fuel price, instability of government policies, lack of basic amenities, bad roads, poor health sector and infrastructure.
Others also believe that as the Yuletide inches closer, the usual excitement that comes with it has disappeared, and many Nigerians can only see the spectre of hunger becoming more real.
Expectedly, residents who spoke with the newsmen said the inflation rate and the economic hardship are becoming unbearable, especially for families that have many children to care for.
A businessman, John Chukwudi, who spoke to our correspondent said he wanted to travel home to Imo state with his family but had suspended the journey due to economic hardship.
According to him, transport alone to his state by road has already gone up to N15,000 per person, which means that a family of eight will need up to N120,000 for the first half of the trip. He said he sells food items but there are no buyers to patronise him, putting the blame on monumental inflation which he said the government had been unable to control.
“As I am talking to you now, I don’t even know how to provide even a fowl for a family of eight including myself and my wife,” he said.
Findings revealed that the high cost of living is beginning to take a heavy toll on average Nigerians.
This is compounded by soaring prices of foodstuffs and liquefied petroleum gas, a development that appears to be getting worse as the Yuletide season approaches.
Already, many housewives are crying out, even as many breadwinners are afraid that the high cost of living may threaten their desire to enjoy Christmas, meet family obligations and make their children happy.
A survey of prices in some markets showed there was a slight increase in prices of foodstuff when compared to October.
According to findings, the price of a 10kg bag of Mama Gold rice increased by 3.28 per cent to sell for an average of N6,300 compared to N6,100 recorded in the previous month, while the price of a big bag of dry onions increased by 2.31 per cent, to sell for an average of N59,000.
Just as the price of major food items like onions, yam, and pasta soared marginally, some other food items such as garri, beans recorded a price decline compared to the previous month.
It could be recalled that it was sold for N25,000 earlier in the year. Also, a bag of yellow garri that was initially sold for an average of N14,800 now sells for N13,600, representing an 8.15 per cent decrease in price.
However, despite the slight moderation in inflation, consumers are jittery about the possible impact of an increase in the price of petrol to N340 per litre in February.
Also, more scary is the fact that the price of cooking gas has remained stubbornly high at N10,200 per cylinder and diesel is selling for N345/litre (N195/litre in 2020).
Based on our econometric model, official inflation is likely to decline again in November to 15.2 per cent from 15.99 per cent in October.
This will be the eighth consecutive monthly decline and will bring the official inflation rate to its lowest point in 11 months.
Meanwhile, FDC’s survey has shown that prices increased across the non-food basket.
The price of diesel, cooking gas, transport costs (road, air) remained stubbornly high, suggesting a likely increase in core inflation to 13.51 per cent from 13.14 per cent in October.
According to the firm of financial experts, except for core inflation, all inflation sub-indices are expected to decline in November.
Food inflation is projected to fall by 1.14 per cent to 17.2 per cent while month-on-month inflation is expected to decline by 0.05 per cent to 0.92 per cent (11.94 per cent annualized).
Owing to the soaring price of cooking gas, many households who are on shoestrings are already learning the wisdom dictated by necessity, shifting to dirty fuels such as sawdust and charcoal.
Stakeholders believe that things are high because Nigeria’s economy relies heavily on oil and with the natural resource losing value on the international market due to COVID-19 related supply and demand constraints, trade and travel restrictions, petroleum products have gotten more expensive as a result.