- The prices of food items in popular Lagos market remains stable amid border reopening
- At the market this week, there’s been stability in the cost price of foodstuff items and reduction in the price of other goods
- The traders’ in a chat with our correspondent express satisfaction over this development but optimistic of better sales as low patronage bothers on the existence of their businesses
- Further findings showed improved supply of some goods in the market this yuletide
Food prices in popular Lagos market remains stable amid border reopening. This is coming days after which the president ordered the immediate reopening of its land borders, four land borders that were shut over a year now.
Recalled that in October, 2019, the federal government ordered the complete closure of Nigeria’s land borders, due to smuggling activities thereby placing a ban on some goods especially foreign rice.
This development comes with an advantage to both the traders and as well buyers in markets across the country. The good news is that there would be a drop in the cost of purchase that would bring about increased patronage in the market this yuletide.
At the market this week, some goods were displayed in large quantity, with price tags that are quite attracting, all thanks to their availability, traders informed.
Interestingly, some of the traders at the popular market in a chat with our correspondent expressed satisfaction over the recent development by the government and its impact on food prices and availability of most goods.
A foodstuff dealer at the market is of a different opinion. According to him, the effort by the government in growing the economy is a laudable one through this move but its impact on foodstuff items would be a negative one.
He said: “In past months, the government have been doing all they could to see to the growth of the economy even before the pandemic, so the border reopening is a good step. But when the border was shut last year, it was for a good reason; to grow the nations produce and as well make local produce that are taken out of the country to be affordable here in the country wherein it is produced.
“So, when the border was shut, foodstuff items became very affordable and available because they are no longer exported as usual but are now sold within the country. Now, that the border is reopened, we might be having increment in the cost price of foodstuff items in the market. Looking at it critically, most goods in the market would be available and very affordable and this would bring about increased sales in the market. Presently, the cost price of egusi is very low but ogbono is still very expensive while crayfish and dry pepper are offered for sale at reasonable prices.
Prior to this period, there’s been increment in the cost price of foodstuff and food items in markets across the country due to COVID-19, security issues in the northern region of the country, hike in transportation fare and weather condition.
Meanwhile, the impact of these factors has affected the source of livelihoods of many businesses crumbling and high standard of living. Despite this assertion, some business owners smiled to the bank as the pandemic favoured their services and delivery while others lament as the impact on their businesses is one most are yet to recover from.
For a rice dealer at the market, the border reopening is a positive one on their business as noticeable change is seen in the cost price of food items purchased from neighbouring countries this week.
“We are very happy with the federal government’s directive as it will be of great benefit to us and the buyers as well. It is not something that they just did; it must have been well planned out; we are very grateful. Although business is not moving, it is very slow but we know in few days from now, when buyers are aware of the reduction in the cost price of rice, they would purchase in reasonable quantity.
“Following this move, there is reduction in the cost price of rice now but local rice is still maintaining stability in its prices. The brand of both the local and foreign rice determine their prices. A bag of foreign rice (Agric) that cost N27,000 before, now sells for N25,000 and a bag of foreign rice (Aroso) now sold from N26,000 as against its old price of N28,000. A bag of local rice is still sold from N23,000, N24,000 and N25,000, the ones without stone but the rice that have stone in it are sold from N20,000 and below.
“Garri is always expensive towards the end of the month and it is not imported; the cost of purchase is influenced by its availability and the supply level. A small bag of white garri is sold from N12,000 upwards as against its old price of N11,000.
“At the market now, the cost price of beans is at a reasonable level due to the entry of the new beans, it has nothing to do with border reopening. The cost price of beans (oloone) is sold for N26,000 as it contains 26 paint buckets and beans (olotu) is sold for N36,000, containing 36 paint buckets.; for the bags, their cost price is influenced by the size of the bag and the number of paint buckets it contains.”
Still at the same market, there is a drop in the cost price of perishable items like tomato and pepper as onion is still very expensive but the traders are hopeful of better sales ahead as yuletide draws nearer.
“Some of the goods we sell in the market are purchased from neighbouring countries and with the recent opening of some of the borders in the country, we will get those goods delivered at an affordable rate because during the period which the border was shut, we were unable to sell tomatoes produced from neighbouring countries while the ones produced here were very expensive due to the security issues in the state where they are grown.
“The government should be applauded as they are working very hard to revive the economy. It is not easy, tackling coronavirus and growing the economy but we will overcome at the end. This week, there is a drop in the cost price of tomato and that of pepper but onion is still very expensive. The border reopening is a good step and one that would bring about positive change in the availability of the goods we sell and supply level like Ghanaian tomatoes and others.
“The best tomato are the ones from Jos, Kano, Zaria to mention but a few and they are very tasty when used to prepare meals but others are watery. Already, there is a reduction in the cost price of tomato. A small basket of Jos tomatoes is sold from N10,000 upwards and the watery ones are sold from N7,000 and N8,000 upwards. For pepper, a bag is sold from N8,000, N10,000 upwards as against its old price of N12,000 and N15,000 upwards. Onion is still sold from N40,000, N50,000, N60,000 and N70,000 upwards depending on the size of bag you are purchasing and the type of onion as well as the market visited.
“Now, Christmas and New Year celebrations is around the corner but the market is still very dry and buyers are very few; this is reflecting on our sales level as we are not making good sales as we ought to despite the affordability of the items we sell. But in days ahead, we are expectant and sure of better sales,” A tomato seller told our correspondent.
Also, the prices of some goods in the market rises further. Goods like provisional items palm oil and groundnut-oil, they increase daily. A palm-oil seller, in a chat with our correspondent, decry increment in the cost price of the items and further revealed the recent cost price.
Sharing her view on border reopening, she said: “This is good news and one we didn’t see coming at all. The government should be encouraged over the recent development, so they can do more. Also, this is a reasonable thing to do at this pressing time that the economy is really down.
“When the border was shut in past months, groundnut-oil was very expensive and is still expensive now but now that the border is opened, the cost price of groundnut-oil purchased from neighbouring countries would drop and their supply level would rise in the market.
“Just few weeks from now, the groundnut-oil increased but this period, palm-oil is much more expensive than groundnut-oil and we do not really know why this is so. The cost of purchase has risen beyond our imagination. A 25-litre of palm-oil that was sold for N11,000 and N11,500 has risen to N20,000 now but some sell theirs from N18,000 while groundnut-oil is sold from N18,500 upwards and refill from N16,000. This price increment has affected sales level as the purchasing power of buyers dropped further.”
At Balogun market, Lagos, a bra seller lament bitterly over the increment in the cost price of wares and non-edible goods. Adding that goods are not coming into the market as expected this season.
“Sales is very low and buyers are not purchasing goods like they do in previous years during yuletide. Reopening of the border is a welcome development but the major problem we are facing now is the increment in the cost price of goods especially goods like bags, wares, bra and pant to mention but a few are sold in limited quantity to us; this is not helping our business this yuletide.
“We struggle to get the goods now as the supply is very low. The suppliers are not able to purchase the goods easily now. So, what they do is that they sell from the ones that were purchased before the border was reopened. This then make us sell our goods at an expensive rate as we buy them at exorbitant amounts. The market is just full as you can see but the buyers are not buying goods because they cannot to pay for the items. They are too expensive.
“Wares that cost N2,000 have increased to N3,000 and N3,500 upwards. Bra that was sold from N700 upwards have increased to N1,000 and N1,200 upwards while shoes that was sold from N1,500 before, have risen to N2,000, N2,500 and N3,000 depending on the design, the brand and the market visited same with classy bags and purse. It is not easy for us as traders n this period but we are sure of good sales in days to come,” A bra seller told our correspondent.
Following the series of happening in the country, festivity looks like a bleak one as buyer struggle to spend the cash at hand, traders’ worry over the inconsistency in the cost price of goods due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, one the government is trying to cushion.
A lot is really affecting the purchasing power of buyers in recent times; issues like insecurity, high cost of transportation fare, rise in unemployment, high standard of living, low income and more. Notwithstanding, there is a lot to live for.
In the spirit of yuletide, government and health experts have however urged citizens to take responsibility of their health and follow duly the COVID-19 guidelines and stay safe even as they celebrate the birth of the son of God that usher us into the New Year properly.
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