Muslim believers groan as the elimination of subsidies squeezes family budgets

  • Ram and cow prices climb by more than 50% ahead of the festival • Food vendors complain about rising prices and low clientele
  • Economists advocate for government involvement to alleviate supply limitations.
  • Rising food insecurity blamed on insecurity and flooding

With the recent elimination of petroleum subsidies, which has caused a new surge in food costs, millions of Nigerian Muslims have expressed displeasure over rising deprivation, which they say will destroy Id el Kabir for millions of faithful.

They argue that, while economic hardship has cut their salaries, diminishing purchasing power as a result of rising prices has wreaked havoc on their budgets, with many resorting to borrowing or begging to meet their obligations.

Many believers are finding it difficult to celebrate because of rising inflation and limited purchasing power, which have deprived them of basic necessities.

Afolabi Olaniyan, a young man who works for a microfinance bank, showed up with N150,000 at Gbagada livestock market in Lagos. Instead of a ram, he left the market with a complaint. He told The Guardian that he had visited four livestock markets and had not found a price that was within his budget.

A medium-sized ram costs N250,000 as of yesterday, while a cow costs N300,000 to N1.3 million, depending on size.

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The food portion of the consumer price index (CPI) was 24.6 percent in May. However, according to The Guardian, several food staples have climbed by more than 50% in the last year. The recent withdrawal of fuel subsidies, which has increased the cost of travelling by more than 100% in several areas, has exacerbated the price crisis.

Butchers lamented limited consumer patronage at the abattoir at Bariga market. Idris Musiliu attributed the problem to tough economic conditions and low consumer purchasing power, stating that sales were much higher last year.

Musiliu also mentioned that most people had already purchased the items they required for the celebration earlier in the month, anticipating a probable price increase.

“People who were traveling came to buy meat last year.” The market was completely sold out. But this time is different,” he explained.

Akinola Olorunfemi, a ram trader at Olorunfemi Cow Market on LASU road Egan, ascribed the increase in the cost of cows and rams to the high cost of transportation caused by the recent elimination of PMS subsidy.

“Subsidy removal affected the prices of a cow because formerly, a trailer was 800,000 and the highest then was N1.2million, but now it’s N1.8m and N2 million, so we will need to deduct those prices from the livestock; this led to the increase in ram prices,” he explained.

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Another seller, Olayinka Ibrahim of Iyana-Iba Cow Market, stated that the treble increase in cow feed prices, along with the high cost of transporting the cows, resulted in an increase in the pricing of the animals.

Sellers in Idimu, Alimosho, blamed the price increase on the elimination of subsidies, claiming that the cost of cattle feed had risen.

Ahmed, a ram vendor, stated that the cost of rams and cows had risen significantly since last year. He estimated that the year-on-year price change was around 50%.

“A ram sold for N200,000 in the village last year.” It is now worth N300,000. Aside from the expensive cost of shipping, you must feed the ram. Even in rural areas, a sack of animal feed costs N8,000. Last year, it was sold for half the price. “All of these expenses must be factored into the selling price,” he explained.

Food prices are also rising dramatically. A medium-sized basket of tomatoes now costs N28,000, up from N10,000 at the start of the year, while a derica of tin tomatoes has risen from N700 to N800.

A crate of medium size eggs cost between N1,900 and N2,000 this time last year, with an average price of N2,400, while a carton of noodles cost between N2,800 and N2,900.

Abibat Bello remarked that patronage has also decreased as food prices have risen.

“I am not preparing for any celebration,” she remarked of her celebration preparations. What happened to the money? I sent someone to the market last week to confirm the pricing of pepper for a little basket, and she said it cost N20,000. Today, I was told it is N30,000. This means I won’t be able to prepare anything for the party. “I will only serve visitors drinks,” she explained.

Mary Adeyemi, another food vendor, said a 50kg bag of rice that was sold for N28,000 before the subsidy reduction is now 35,000 and likely to rise further.

Prices have also changed dramatically when the subsidy was removed. Mrs. Adeyemi stated that a bag of yellow garri that used to cost N18,000 now costs N21,000

Akinyemi stated that a kg of frozen chicken has jumped from N2,200 to N2,400, and that a kilo of turkey, which was previously N3,400, is now N3,800.

A kilo of Titus, which was N2,200, has gone to N2,400, while Kote has increased from N1,500 to N1,800.

She said that a paint pail of sugar, which used to cost between N2,800 and N3,000, is now worth N4,000.

Adeyemi stated that sales had decreased due to low patronage, and that customers have complained about the high food pricing.

Peace Adewole, the proprietor of Meals by Peace Catering Services, stated that there has been a 50% spike in several food items in the last month, a condition that has harmed household survival.

She claims that a 3.5-litre bowl of stew, which used to cost between N7,000 and N8,000, is now selling for between N16,000 and N17,000, owing to the spike in the price of a bowl of pepper, which used to cost N6,000 and is now N20,000.

Adewole stated that Salah is not the sole reason for the increase in food prices, and that the withdrawal of subsidies is a big factor.

She stated that the public are experiencing the brunt of the damage, and that some food products, such as tomatoes and pepper, are in short supply.

She claims that the food supplied is exorbitantly priced.

Adewole claims that a 3.5-litre bowl of egusi soup, which used to cost roughly N9,000 to N10,000, is now N20,000, while Ogbono soup, which used to cost N8,000, is now N20,000.

She claims that Ogbono is the new gold, whereas stockfish, crayfish, and other products are too pricey.

Adewole stated that patronage is declining, saying that only clients whose firms boosted their pay continue to patronize her, while others who have not received a salary increase are finding it difficult to purchase.

Customers who are planning weddings are cutting down on their spending, while companies that train their employees are cutting back on catering logistics.

Adewole stated that two organizations that paid for her catering services earlier this year for staff training later this year had now postponed their events due to an increase in the initial budget.

Some consumers have expressed their outrage and dissatisfaction in response to the spike, claiming that the government’s elimination of gasoline subsidies has touched every element of life, including the cost of living, transportation, and now religious responsibilities.

According to them, the cutting influence of economic reality has also complicated their decision on whether or not to sacrifice rams or animals. This, they claim, is because they must balance their decision with other critical matters that require equal consideration.

According to a buyer, Bola Ajibola, the growing cost of rams and cows is imposing excessive financial hardship on many families.

“It is critical that we remember the true meaning of the holiday season and that everyone can participate without being burdened by these costs,” she said.

According to Aderonke Adenekan, an Egan resident, the elimination of fuel subsidies has had a substantial influence on the expense of living, and this has now extended to religious responsibilities, with the increase in the cost of animals required for sacrifices during the festival.

“The prices of cow are too high and not encouraging at all, imagine someone who has been slaughtering ram in the past would not be able to do so this year just because of the increase in price, we still need to buy other things to support the ram like rice and other ingredients which are also on the high side,” she explained.

Despite the increased expense, some Nigerians have stated that they will fulfill their religious responsibility and will find a way to purchase the animals for sacrifice.

Food prices in Nigeria have been exorbitant since August 2019, when the country closed its borders to neighboring countries, and have persisted unabated due to supply chain interruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak and the latest flood scenario.

According to analysts, because inflation is a lag indicator, the effects of fuel subsidies, which cause a more than 250 percent increase in the price of gasoline at the pump, have not been priced in.

According to the data, Nigeria’s headline inflation maintained its upward trajectory in May, rising by 19 basis points to 22.41 percent year on year.

Clothing and footwear account for 1.70 percent, transportation accounts for 1.45 percent, furnishings, household equipment, and maintenance account for 1.12 percent, education accounts for 0.88 percent, and health accounts for 0.67 percent.

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“Miscellaneous goods and services at 0.37 percent; restaurant and hotels at 0.27 percent; alcoholic beverage, tobacco, and kola at 0.24 percent; recreation and culture at 0.15 percent; and communication at 0.15 percent.”

It stated that the month-to-month percentage change in the All-Items Index in April 2023 was 1.91 percent.

According to Muda Yusuf, Director-General of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), inflationary pressures in the Nigerian economy have yet to abate, as they have in many other parts of the world.

“It remains a major concern for economic stakeholders.” The primary drivers of food inflation have not altered in recent years. They are as follows: a sinking currency, increased transportation costs, logistical issues, forex market illiquidity, a rise in diesel prices, climate change, insecurity devastating farming communities, and structural impediments to economic activity.

“There are others.” The CBN’s fiscal deficit financing is also a crucial element driving inflation by injecting large amounts of money into the economy. Tapering of monetary easing in advanced economies is also fueling imported inflation and currency devaluation.”

According to David Adonri, Vice President of Highcap Securities, one major imperative that would help address the rising cost of food commodities is for governments at all levels to urgently call for an assessment of the level of damage caused by the flood and take necessary steps to deal with it and prevent future occurrences.

According to him, the recent flooding crisis is a threat to the country’s food security because farms and farming towns have been cut off by flood and farmlands have been drowned in practically all of the country’s states.

He urged the apex bank to make greater efforts to ensure that farmers benefit from existing government agricultural initiatives, as well as to create new incentives to make their influence more relevant at this vital moment.

Adonri added that increased insecurity has already affected food production in many sections of the country and has pushed farmers off their farmlands to a large extent.

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