…food prices, transport costs up by 30%
Nigerians are groaning under the heavy impact of the recent increase in food and electricity prices.
Nigeria Today survey of transportation cost and food prices across Lagos show an upward review of costs at various levels.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF FUEL HIKE PRICE ON ROAD TRANSPORT
Transportation is essential to daily activities. And in Nigeria, road networks are the bedrock of the transportation system because road transport is easily accessible and relatively cheaper. Without mincing words, road transport is the lifeline of the masses to convey them and their wares from one location or the other.
However, the high price of petrol is adversely affecting road transport, and in return has been the headache of the masses. The debate is pivoted on the drivers who raise transport fares as a result of the high pump price of fuel, and the financial pains that are borne by the passengers. This is explained by some motorists and commuters who spoke to Nigeria Today in Lagos.
A tricycle rider, Mr. Jide Aliu, who plies between Dalemo, a suburb of Lagos to Agege said the increased transport fares were expected therefore, passengers must adjust.
According to him, “From Dalemo to Abattoir has moved from N200 to N300, while Dalemo from Agege is now N400, as against previous N300.”
In a similar vein, a commercial bus driver at Abule Egba, Lagos who pleaded anonymity elucidated that shorter trips do not experience increase in transport fares while agitating that longer trips do, due to the increase of petrol at filling stations. He pointed out that distant journeys tend to consume more fuel, therefore passengers are charged on that, and discretion is applied on their loads.
He said, “We don’t really add fares to short distances, but definitely long distances attract added transport fares. The fare is based on the longer the journey, the higher the pay. But, we consider the heaviness of loads before we determine our fares.”
In Isolo, a private business owner who also pleaded anonymity recounted her ordeal in the last few days as a significant amount of money are already added to transport fares. She observed that, “Motorcycles used to charge N100 from my home to the nearest bus-stop. Now, they charge N150. Boarding a tricycle, popularly known as Keke, from Iyana Ejigbo to Canoe used to be N100 before the COVID-19 pandemic. It became N200 due to social distancing and now it’s N250 because of the increase in fuel price. Tricycle fare from Canoe to Airport Road in Ajao Estate also increased from N200 to N300.”
The story was not different at Ojota, as a hairstylist, Mary Adelaja described what she has to contend with on daily basis. She also observed that the prices of goods and services would always escalate to bite harder on the masses, as far as the government continues to increase the fuel price.
“Nigerians cannot escape increased prices of goods and services, in as much as this government increases petrol pump price. This is the primary determinant of all the activities in Lagos, and I think even in Nigeria,” cried Ms Adelaja. “Imagine, from Ojota to Mile 2 is now N1000. It was N700 before now. If you board a big bus from Ojota to Oshodi, it is now N300, which was N200 initially.”
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FUEL HIKE PRICE ON FOOD MATERIALS
As food is the primary need of man, food prices are gradually becoming unbearable because of transport fares to convey them from the farms to market places have been added to the primary price, and thus consumers bear the burden in the long run.
This was explicitly explained by a food stuff seller, Mrs. K. Babalola who lamented the increased transport fares from markets to her shops at Abule Egba.
She said that when farmers move their farm produce to markets, it is expected of them to recoup profits for their efforts, so they add to the prices as a result of the increased transport fares which drivers that convey their produce collect.
“It is not the fault of the farmers, they will make gains from their farms. If drivers raise the transport fares, they will also raise the prices of the produce, and we the market women also add our own prices, which the consumers bear in the end,” she clarified.
ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS OF INCREASED PETROL PRICE AND ELECTRICITY TARIFF ON NIGERIANS
It should be critically observed that both increased in fuel price and electricity tariff have become a twin-burden to Nigerians. While it is logically expected that citizens will derive maximal enjoyment from high electricity charges, the reverse was the case, as the power supply even worsened in many parts of the country, therefore leading to numerous business ventures running on generators to power their offices and shops. In the long run, it hits back at the consumers.
According to a barber, Mr. Bayo Babjide, who has his business at Ijaiye of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area, “Most of my daily business is run on generator now. Light is not constant. I can’t see the usefulness of the high electricity bills.”
He went further to elucidate that, “My customers also understand the country, and they have to play along because the prices of haircut have increased by N100 on different categories. This includes washing of hair, and the likes.”
At business centres, the story was the same. The typesetting, printing, laminating of documents and other related services have attracted extra charges. Mr. Osinco of the Osinco & Co Business Centre at Jankara, bewailed that while it was necessary to increase the prices of services, it was also imperative to do it mildly in other not to lose customers; an unnecessary burden he bears as a business person.
“We have increased the prices of our services, because of buying fuel to the generator to work. Photocopying a page of any document is N30 as against N20. Printing of black and white document has moved from N50 to N70, while colour page attracts N100 or N150 depending on the weight of graphics. Sometimes, we even suffer to reduce these charges because we don’t want to lose customers,” Mr. Osinco lamented.
The hardship does not exclude building materials as a paint merchant, Miss Adejoke at Alakuko, reiterated that paints have increased in prices considering the fuel price hike. Petroleum products aShe said that, “a 4-litre container of paint is N1200 which was N900 or N1000 before. The 20-litre container is N20,000 and it was sold for N18,000 before now.”
It cannot be overemphasised that Nigerian citizens are at the mercy of their government which implements economic policies as it pleases, without considering their adverse effects on the masses. With increasing inflation, loss of jobs during COVID-19 lockdown, and the current fuel price hike and increased electricity bills, the masses are being strangulated financially and emotionally.
Furthermore, this becomes worse when palliatives are no distributed, and government’s progammes to cushion the effects of the pandemic are only expressed in theoretical papers as the case of the country has always been. The intervention fund injected into the economy as claimed by the federal government has not been practically felt.
Nigeria is the African largest producer of oil and its citizens suffer fuel hike price, because it imports refined petroleum products. While the masses eagerly awaits the federal government to get the oil refineries in the country working amidst other expectations, the government should be urgent in practically applying solutions to numerous, but disturbing basic necessities of the common man.