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Quality of local rice improves as food prices drop across major markets 

The quality of locally produced rice in Nigeria has recorded significant improvement in recent weeks, as revealed by the latest Nairametrics Household Survey.

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Quality of local rice improves as food prices drop across major markets Prices of major household items on the high as weather condition limits harvest, Onions, Pepper, Yam, others increase across various Lagos markets as dealers lament low sales, Traders bag imported rice in local bags, as prices of onions, Ppepper, others drop

The quality of locally-produced rice in Nigeria has recorded significant improvement in recent weeks, as the latest Nairametrics Household Survey revealed that more brands of local rice continued to flood major markets in Lagos, thereby pulling the prices.

According to the latest Survey, the price of local rice reduced significantly across major markets in Lagos as new brands of locally made rice were sighted in various markets. Bags of locally-made rice now sell for an average of N19,250 compared to the initial average of N20,750.

The report also showed that 10kg bags of locally produced rice reduced from N4,000 last month to N3,500 last week. The report has items that witnessed decrease in prices, Items that increased in prices, Items that maintained initial prices, special markets accounts and market insights.

Items that witnessed price decrease

  • A 10kg bag of Mama Gold rice and Rice Master reduced to a uniform price of N3,500 compared to an initial average of N4,000 and N4,250 respectively.
  • A 50kg bag of Mama Gold rice currently sells for an average of N19,250, a 7.23% reduction compared to an initial average of N20,750.
  • Also, the price of 50kg bags of Caprice reduced to an average of N25,750 compared to an initial average of N26,167.
  • A 50kg bag of brown beans (Oloyin) sells for an average of N12,500, a 3.85% reduction compared to N13,000 being sold two weeks ago.
  • While a bag of regular brown beans currently sells for an average of N20,375, a 13.3% reduction in contrast to N23,500 sold in January. A 50kg bag of white beans reduced to an average of N19,875 from an initial average of N21,250.
  • The price of pepper decreased yet again, as a big bag now sells for an average of N6,000 from an initial average of N6,500, while a medium bag which was sold for an average of N5,000 two weeks ago reduced by 4% to sell for N4,800.

Items that witnessed price increase

Among the items that witnessed increase in their prices are yam, locally made groundnut oil, tomatoes and onions among others.

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  • A big tuber of yam now sells for an average of N850 from an initial average of N813, indicating a 4.62% increase within two weeks, while a medium-sized tuber of yam increased by 4.17% to sell for an average of N625.
  • A 25-litre gallon of local vegetable oil sells for an average of N13,075, an 1.55% increase compared to an initial average of N12,875.
  • A basket of round shaped tomatoes that enjoyed consistent price reductions in recent weeks witnessed relative price increase as a big basket now sells for an average of N6,500 compared to an initial average of N6,000, representing 8.33% increase.
  • A medium-sized basket of tomatoes currently sells for N3,800 compared to an initial N3,500 in January.
  • Another item that recorded increase in price, despite a run of consistent decrease is onion. A big bag of dry onions currently sells for N22,000 from an initial N20,000. It increased by 10% within two weeks.
  • Also, a big bag of new onions costs N19,000, a 5.56% increment compared to N18,000 in January.

[READ MORE: Food items’ stock pile-up across major markets, as prices continue to drop)

Items that maintained initial prices

  • Big baskets of sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes still retain their initial prices at N4,300 and N18,000 respectively.
  • A bag of Royal Stallion (Foreign) rice maintained its initial price at N27,000.
  • Across the visited markets, the price of a bag of flour remains unchanged at an average of N11,275.
  • The prices of bags of maize, both yellow and white, maintain their initial prices at the average of N14,000 and N15,500 respectively.
  • A kilo of fish (Kote) continues to sell for an average of N478 as Titus fish also maintains N485 as sold two weeks ago.
  • Some other items that maintained their initial prices include cartons of noodles, refilling of household cooking gas, beverages and crates of eggs.

Special Market 

  • Sellers of locally produced palm oil and groundnut oil at Daleko market told Nairametrics Research that their prices are reducing gradually, compared to December.

“A big drum of groundnut oil, that was sold between the range of N115,000 and N120, 0000 in December is now sold for an average of N108,000, while palm oil of the same quantity sells for an average of N72,000 compared to an average of N80,000.”

  • We also gathered that the price of a big bunch of plantains that was sold in December for N1,500 at Idi-Oro market reduced to N1,000 in February while a smaller sized bunch now sells for N800 compared to N1,000 in December.

Food Items, Prices of imported rice

Market insight

Nairametrics Research Team gathered that the continuous supply of new brands of locally produced rice is as a result of farmers’ willingness to produce rice to meet the country’s needs. This has crashed the price of the commodity to N19,000 from an initial N21,000.

A rice seller at Daleko market praised the producers of locally made rice, as the volume of stony rice in the various markets has reduced drastically, while also producing rice that could measure up with foreign-made rice in terms of quality.

Some of the new brands of locally made rice sighted in the markets include Famous Rice, Our Rice, JGW New-World Rice and Al-flux Rice, all of which sell within the range of N18,000 and N19,000 while Mai-Nasari rice cost an average of N16,000.

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[READ ALSO: Tomatoes, pepper prices crash across major markets, as local rice continues to ease-off)

ItemsBrandUnitMUSHIN (06/02/2020)DALEKO (06/02/2020)OYINGBO (06/02/2020)MILE 12 (06/02/2020)Average MUSHIN (23/01/2020)DALEKO (23/01/2020)OYINGBO (23/01/2020)MILE 12 (23/01/2020)Average
Bag of RiceBasmati5kgNANANANANANANANANANA
Bag of RiceMama Gold10kgNA3500NANA3500NA4000NANA4000
Bag of RiceRoyal Stallion50Kg27000NA27000NA2700027000NA27000NA27000
Bag of RiceRice Master10kgNA3500NANA3500NA4000NA45004250
Bag of RiceMama Gold50kg19000190001950019500192502100020000210002100020750
Bag of RiceCaprice50kg26500NANA25000257502650027000NA2500026166.666666667
Bag of RiceMama's Pride50kg19000190001950019500192502100020000210002100020750
Bag of RiceFalcon25kgNANANANANANANANANANA
Bag of BeansOloyin50kg13000120001300012000125001300012000130001400013000
Bag of BeansWhite50kg20500180002100020000198752200020000220002100021250
Bag of BeansBrown>50kg22000180002150020000203752400022000240002400023500
Tuber of YamAbuja1 Big Size Tuber900800850850850850800800800812.5
Tuber of YamAbuja1 Medium Size Tuber650650600600625650550600600600
Carton of NoodlesIndomie305g (Belle full)2900290029002900290029002900290029002900
Carton of NoodlesIndomie200g (Hungry man)3200320032003200320032003200320032003200
Carton of NoodlesChikki100g2000220021002100210020002200210021002100
Carton of NoodlesMinimie70g1500150015001500150015001500150015001500
Carton of NoodlesGolden Penny70g1400140014001400140014001400140014001400
Bag of GarriIjebu80kg6000680070007000670060006800700070006700
Bag of GarriWhite50kg6000600065006000612560006000650060006125
Bag of GarriYellow50kg6000650065007000650060006500650070006500
Basket of PotatoSweetBig Basket4300430043004300
Basket of PotatoSweetSmall Basket700700700700
Basket of PotatosweetSmallest Basket200200200200
Basket of PotatoIrishBiggest Basket18000180001800018000
Basket of PotatoIrishMedium Basket2000200020002000
Basket of PotatoIrishSmall Basket1500150015001500
Packet of PastaGolden Penny500g4300440043004200430043004400430042004300
Packet of PastaDangote500g4000400040004100402540004000400041004025
Packet of PastaPower (1 pc)500g220220220200215220220220200215
Packet of PastaBonita (1 pc)500g220200200210207.5220200200210207.5
Gallon of Palm OilLocal5 Litres2200200023002000212522002000230020002125
Gallon of Palm OilLocal25 Litres1050090001000095009750105001000010500950010125
Gallon of Vegetable OilLocal5 Litres2300230024002300232523002300240023002325
Gallon of Vegetable OilLocal25 Litres13000130001350012800130751300012500135001250012875
Gallon of Vegetable OilKings5 Litres3000300030003000300030003000300030003000
Gallon of Vegetable OilWesson5 Litres3900390039003900390039003900390039003900
Gallon of Vegetable OilMamador3.8 Litres25002450250024002462.525002450250024002462.5
Gallon of Vegetable OilPower3 Litres1800180018001800180018001800180018001800
Bunch of PlaintainPlaintain1 Big Bunch400400350400387.5400400350400387.5
Bag of FlourDangote50kg11200112001120011500112751120011200112001150011275
Bag of FlourHoney well50Kg11500112001120011200112751150011200112001120011275
Bag of FlourMama Gold50kg11500113001100011300112751150011300110001130011275
Bag of SugarDangote50kg3500320034003200332535003200340032003325
MilkPeak Powdered (Tin)400g12501200120012001212.512501200120012001212.5
Milkpeak Powdered(Tin)900g2400240024002300237524002400240023002375
MilkPeak milk (Refill)500g10501000100010001012.510501000100010001012.5
MilkDano Powdered (Tin)500g1000100010001000100010001000100010001000
MilkDano Powdered(Tin)900g2000200020002000200020002000200020002000
MilkDano (Refill)500g850800800800812.5850800800800812.5
MilkThreeCrown (Refill)380g720700750700717.5720700750700717.5
MilkLoya Powdered (Tin)400g10001000100010501012.510001000100010501012.5
MilkLoya (Refill)400g850800850800825850800850800825
MilkCoast (Refill)500g750750750750750750750750750750
Cocoa BeveragesMilo (Tin)500g10001100105010001037.510001100105010001037.5
Cocoa BeveragesMilo (Tin)900g2000210021002100207520002100210021002075
Cocoa BeveragesMilo Refill500g900900900900900900900900900900
Cocoa BeveragesBournvita Refill500g950900950900925950900950900925
Cocoa BeveragesBournvita (Plastic)900g2000200020002000200020002000200020002000
Cocoa BeveragesOvaltine Refill500g800800850850825800800850850825
Cocoa BeveragesOvaltine(Plastic)500g1100110010001100107511001100100011001075
CoffeeNescafe Classic50g600600600600600600600600600600
TeaLipton Yellow label52g310290300300300310290300300300
TeaTop tea52g300300300300300300300300300300
SugarSt' Loius Sugar(Cube) 500g400380400450407.5400380400450407.5
SugarGolden Penny Sugar (cube)500g350300350300325350300350300325
BreadVal-U1 loaf300300300300300300300300300300
BreadButterfield1 loaf300300300300300300300300300300
EggN/ACrate9501000950100097595010009501000975
Bottled Water (Refill)CwayRefill600600650600612.5600600650600612.5
Juice5 Alive1 litre600550550600575600550550600575
JuiceChivita1 litre600550600550575600550600550575
GasRefilling12.5kg4000400040004000400040004000400040004000
GasRefilling5kg1700170018001700172517001700180017001725
TomatoesBig Basketround shaped6500650060006000
Medium Basketround shaped3800380035003500
Small Basketround shaped2000200025002500
Big BasketOval ShapedNANANANA
Small BasketOval ShapedNANANANA
FishKote (Horse Mackerel)1 kg500450470490477.5500450470490477.5
FishTitus (Mackerel)1 kg500450500490485500450500490485
PepperBig bag6000600065006500
Medium bag4800480050005000
MaizeYellow140001400014000140001400014000
White150001600015500150001600015500
MelonBig bag48000480004800048000
OnionsBig bagDry Onions22000220002000020000
OnionsBig bagNew Onions19000190001800018000

About Nairametrics Food Price Survey

The Nairametrics Food Price Watch is a bi-weekly household market survey that covers the prices of major food items, with emphasis on five major markets in Lagos – Mushin Market, Daleko Market, Oyingbo Market, Idi-Oro Market and Mile 12.

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Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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Policy changes and challenges for MSMEs in 2020

The startup companies are valued at over $1 billion because the uncertainties of doing business in Nigeria are quite high.

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Here’s why your business needs a solid value proposition (PART 1)

It is a given that 2020 has been one of the most trying years for business owners and entrepreneurs. Some businesses have been crushed completely, with some left barely breathing.

The year started with the announcement of the increased VAT rates, moved on to the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant challenges, the global oil crisis and its implications on national revenue, and just after the easing of the lockdown, the recent increase in fuel price. What do all these connote for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises that were already groaning under stiff economic policies and trying to survive the hard days? Your guess is as good as mine.

Taxation in the middle of a pandemic

Amid all of these challenges, the government (through its agencies) trying to widen its tax net and improve revenue, with more duties and tax options being imposed on Nigerians. Just recently, as courier and logistics business operators were still trying to grapple with the implications of the increased NIPOST license fees, when NIPOST and FIRS went on a social media war of words over which agency is constitutionally justified to collect the Stamp Duties.

There is also the recent rental tax announced by the government, a move still being protested by unions who have argued that this pandemic period is a time for the government to give out palliatives, not widen its tax net.

What do the multiple changes and challenges in 2020 mean for MSMEs?

In a recent tweet on his handle, Partner & Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria, Andrew Nevin (Ph.D.) noted that the current circumstances will stifle the entire economy and constrain MSMEs from growing, as it is quite difficult to grow in an economy that is not growing.

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“… The complexity and cost of governance and the fiscal crisis is leading to a situation where successful companies in the tax net are subject to more and more taxes, which means they cannot grow and some companies in the formal economy will try to move back to the informal economy, further compounding the issue,” Nevin tweeted.

(READ MORE: CBN lists major constraints affecting businesses, as borrowing rates projected to rise )

Nevin also noted that even though the SMEs employ over 80% of the country’s workforce, the startups in Nigeria hardly get to the point where they are valued at over $1 billion. And this is because the uncertainties of doing business in Nigeria are quite high. Gokada, for instance, had a thriving business environment and was set to break even when the new policy was introduced banning motorcycles across major routes in Lagos. This, he said, shows the uncertainty of the business environment in Nigeria.

In addition, attracting global capital to scale a unicorn requires more money than are readily available for risky companies in Nigeria. The challenging business environment and the ‘reputation’ associated with the Nigerian flag makes it very hard to get sufficient external capital.

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According to him, SMEs entering the formal sector means higher productivity and monitored payment of taxes. Yet, entry into the formal sector is still a choice most small businesses do not want to embrace due to the economic environment.

“… if the cost and complexity of entering the formal sector is too high, then the SME will elect to stay in the informal sector with all the attendant issues, including that they can be subject to harassment by the authorities,” he said.

(READ MORE:Innocent Chukwuma: From selling spare parts to manufacturing an indigenous automobile brand)

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He noted that the large SME sector arises partly from unemployment and people rushing into entrepreneurship as a means of livelihood; as well as the difficulties to grow a large and strong business.

“These type of statistics always tell us the sector is huge but it is huge because it is too difficult to grow big companies, so this is not a sign of strength. The best structure for the economy is to have strong large companies that then create room for SMEs to be part of their ecosystem.

“Large companies raise standards (look at quality of Dangote companies for example) and raise productivity and create opportunities for others so large SME sector is sign that business is too difficult because if Nigeria was functioning correctly, we would have 100+ Dangotes in the Economy,” Nevin tweeted.

Explaining the challenges of MSMEs in Nigeria, Chairman and Managing Partner at Ofuani Maidoh & Co, Clement Ofuani, noted that small businesses in Nigeria have more pressing challenges to deal with than the government-imposed fiscal burdens.

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Ofuani told Nairametrics in an interview, that the harsh and hostile operating environment makes for a more serious challenge for small businesses.

“Epileptic electricity power supply, inefficient transportation system and insecurity impose more operating costs on MSMEs than the fiscal taxes listed,” he stated.

Ofuani, who served as Senior Special Assistant to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Policy, explained that the Finance Act waives income tax for companies with turnover below N25 million, thus granting fiscal reliefs to most small businesses.

(READ MORE: Nigerian firms expect to start employing again in August – CBN survey)

“The stamp duty on rental agreements and other agreements are additional burdens as is the increase of VAT to 7.5% but the below-the-table taxes paid by MSMEs in form of unreceipted ‘taxes’ to the security personnel along the transportation corridors, and to bureaucrats for normal government services are the greatest frustrations that make Nigeria uncompetitive in global commerce and as an investment destination,” Ofuani stated.

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Amid all of these formal and informal challenges, it becomes very difficult for the small start-up to grow beyond its startup stage and become a big company.

The on-going pandemic and recent policies have done little or nothing to address these challenges and despite the palliatives, loans, and support schemes being launched by the government at various levels, most of these small businesses will still find their growth stunted by some of these “unreceipted taxes”.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 11th of August 2020, 423 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 47,290 confirmed cases.

On the 11th of August 2020, 423 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,355 samples across the country.

To date, 47,290 cases have been confirmed, 33,609 cases have been discharged and 956 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 319,851 tests have been carried out as of August 11th, 2020 compared to 317,496 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 11th August 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 47,290
  • Total Number Discharged – 33,609
  • Total Deaths – 956
  • Total Tests Carried out – 319,851

According to the NCDC, the 423 new cases were reported from 22 states- Lagos (117), FCT (40), Ondo (35), Rivers (28), Osun (24), Benue (21), Abia (19), Ogun (19), Ebonyi (18), Delta (17), Kwara (17), Kaduna (15), Anambra (14), Ekiti (11), Kano (9), Imo (6), Gombe (4), Oyo (3), Taraba (3), Bauchi (1), Edo (1) and Nasarawa (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 16,074, followed by Abuja (4,525), Oyo (2,890), Edo (2,399), Rivers (1,972), Kano (1,643), Kaduna (1,628), Delta (1,613), Plateau (1,584), Ogun (1,497), Ondo (1,324), Enugu (914), Ebonyi (888), Kwara (882), Katsina (746), Borno (690), Abia (663), Osun (652), Gombe (635),  and Bauchi (578).

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Imo State has recorded 485 cases, Benue (430), Nasarawa (371), Bayelsa (346),  Jigawa (322), Akwa Ibom (235), Niger (226), Ekiti (193), Adamawa (185), Anambra (156), Sokoto (154),  Kebbi (90), Taraba (78),  Zamfara (77), Cross River (73), Yobe (67), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
August 11, 202047290423956633609127257
August 10, 202046867290950533346125717
August 9, 202046577437945333186124467
August 8, 202046140453942633044121547
August 7, 202045687443936632637121147
August 6, 202045244354930332430118847
August 5, 2020448904579271732165117987
August 4, 2020444333049101431851116727
August 3, 202044129288896820663225707
August 2, 202043841304888520308226457
August 1, 202043537386883420287225677
July 31, 202043151462879119565227077
July 30, 202042689481878519270225417
July 29, 202042208404873519004223317
July 28, 202041804624868818764221727
July 27, 202041180648860218203221177
July 26, 202040532555858217374223007
July 25, 2020399774388561116948221737
July 24, 2020395395918451216559221357
July 23, 2020389486048332016061220547
July 22, 202038344543813815815217167
July 21, 202037801576805415677213197
July 20, 2020372255628011215333210917
July 19, 2020366635567891115105207697
July 18, 202036107653778614938203917
July 17, 202035454600772314633200497
July 16, 202034854595769914292197937
July 15, 202034259643760613999195007
July 14, 2020336164637541013792190707
July 13, 202033153595744413671187387
July 12, 2020325585717401613447183717
July 11, 2020319876647241513103181607
July 10, 2020313235757092012795178197
July 9, 202030748499689512546175137
July 8, 2020302494606841512373171927
July 7, 2020297895036691512108170127
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
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BEWARE: Harmful products are on your local store shelves!

Consumers are to look out for the manufacture and expiry date before consuming a product.

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Time was when the seal on a product bearing a NAFDAC registration number was considered the ultimate seal of authentication. Nowadays, not only are substandard and adulterated products dragging the market share with genuine products, some of them now falsify the NAFDAC seal of approval – registration number.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently advised consumers to beware of some products with fake registration numbers being sold in stores and outlets. The agency advised Nigerians to always examine a product thoroughly (particularly food, drugs, medical devices, or packaged water) before purchasing. Consumers are to look out for the manufacture and expiry date before consuming.

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The agency’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr Jimoh Abubakar, while speaking during a recent interview said: “examine the content of the product, the seal of authority or the approved registration number from NAFDAC which is sacrosanct; NAFDAC registration number is not just a number, it is not plate number of a vehicle.

“The number is a rigorous scientific elaboration of a product through our laboratory analysis and through certain compendium references, and after all these by NAFDAC, a product will then be certified for safety, efficacy and wholesomeness”.

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In summary, the registration number from NAFDAC is a confirmation to consumers that the product (content and processes) has been examined and is now certified fit for human consumption. The certification process ensures first that good manufacturing practice has been followed, in the right location and environment, and with the right contents, before the product can be labelled.

READ ALSO: IPMAN orders fuel marketers to sell fuel at old rate until new directive from PPPRA

A recent experience

I purchased a multi-vitamin from an online store recently, and the product was delivered four days later. I was about to break the seal and consume when I noticed there was a slight difference in the name.

I  examined the packet closely and discovered that even though the product had been packaged in exactly the same orange-coloured package, the name was different and the details showed that it was manufactured somewhere in Lagos state (the expected product was supposed to be manufactured in the USA).

I wanted to return it outright but then I convinced myself on the need to patronise locally made brands as well if it could give me the same results. I typed the registration number into the NAFDAC verify page and this was the result; “Warning! This product is fake. – report product”.

READ ALSO: Sniper makers should be worried about NAFDAC’s “ban” on the product 

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The scourge of fake registration numbers

In as much as registration numbers are a key differentiator between approved and uncertified products, NAFDAC has admitted that there are fake registration numbers out in the market.

According to Abubakar, the agency is also on the lookout for perpetrators of this deceptive act, even as consumers have been urged to take an extra step in examining a product before consuming it.

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He added that technology had made most things easier now and urged Nigerians to visit NAFDAC’s website to get more information about products.

He noted that some products are listed on the website, especially sachet water, as the agency’s staff strength is not enough to be everywhere or to police the country’s population.

“Public awareness and information are very cardinal for people to help themselves; NAFDAC leverages so much on public sensitisation. So, people must help themselves on the consumption of these products,” he said.

READ ALSO: What You Need To Know About Value Added Tax (VAT) In Nigeria

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Harmful products alert!

Sometime in July, the agency sent out a public alert notifying consumers that the “Pure Tassie Organic Apple and Blackcurrant Juice originating from Australia” had been examined and considered unsafe for consumption, due to unacceptable level of patulin (a mycotoxin) which had exceeded the maximum limit in fruit juice.

The agency’s verdict had also been confirmed by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, before the alert was sent out.

According to the notice, the level of patulin content in the juice is high enough to “induce liver, spleen and kidney damage”, and also toxic to the human immune system, causing nausea, gastrointestinal disturbance and vomiting.

In the alert, NAFDAC implored importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to immediately stop the importation, distribution, sale and consumption of the affected fruit juice, urging them to turn in all current stock of the product to the NAFDAC office, although no mention is made as to compensations for their losses.

A month before this, there was a similar alert from the agency about three cosmetic products namely “Sifu Kunyit Day Cream, Sifu Kunyit Night Cream and JJ Skincare Glowhite Night Cream”.

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The products were confirmed by the agency to contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, betamethasone valerate and mercury, all of which are targeted at lightening the skin and changing the pigmentation.

Given the quantity used in these products, NAFDAC confirmed that they can cause damage to the kidney, get absorbed into the blood circulatory system and increase the risk of skin cancer along with other ailments.

Apart from harm caused to the user of products containing mercury, NAFDAC confirmed that mercury can disrupt the brain development of unborn children when consumed by nursing mothers, and also inhibit brain development of young children.

This time around, the products originated from Malaysia and had been imported into Nigeria. Deducing from the notice, one can see that the product had already been banned by the Malaysian Ministry of Health before ever it was imported to Nigeria.

In April, it was a World Health Organisation (WHO) alert on falsified Chloroquine products in circulation in Africa, all originating from three African Countries are Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.

Why would people buy banned products?

A trader who spoke to Nairametrics confirmed that it is possible for such products to still be imported despite being banned. Tolani, who manages a warehouse where she sells consumables (snacks and drinks ) in wholesale quantities affirmed that when supplies are being made, the suppliers sometimes introduce new products at ridiculously lower prices.

“Some of these brand names that we know are very expensive and their price continues to increase without regulation. So, sometimes when we make to buy new stocks, the supplier can show us a new and similar product that is even less than half the price of the popular brands we know, so we buy them as well.

“They are all imported products, and people like to try out foreign products so we know for sure that they will buy it from us,” she explained.

She added that there was no way to confirm at such times whether or not the product was original, imitated, safe or harmful since the traders are no experts.

“They are foreign products, and I believe that if they passed through customs officers and entered the market, then they should have been checked there” she added for emphasis.

Any synergy between NCS and NAFDAC

Consuming harmful products is bad enough, but exchanging hard-earned money for things that could be detrimental to one’s health is even worse.

NAFDAC already has to combat imitated or harmful drugs produced locally. Doing same for imported products means they have even more on their plate to deal with. The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) is responsible for manning the borders of the country and monitoring what goes in or out, and if unsafe products still find their way into the country, it means that there are gaps that need to be sealed.

Tweets on the NCS twitter handle shows that much of the organisation’s activities have been centred around the impounding of smuggled bags of rice, kegs of vegetable oil, cartons of spaghetti/macaroni, bags of foreign sugar, cartons of soap, bales of textile materials, parcels of India hemp, NPK fertilisers and vehicles among others.

There is a striking absence of activities around the importation of fake or harmful drugs or other consumables, and all the focus has been on the more lucrative items contained in the import prohibition list such as frozen or live poultry, refined vegetable oils, cocoa butter, bagged cement, etc.

Even though pharmaceutical and consumable items make up 5 out of the 25 item list, it would appear that the list has not been updated recently in line with the recent public alerts from NAFDAC.

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Clearly, consumers will have to take precautions themselves as NAFDAC has advised because the agencies appear to be overwhelmed with the amount of criminal work going on in the space. Thankfully, some products now include a sealed number on the packet which the consumer is meant to text to the unique code and confirm the authenticity. Unfortunately, consumers are often in a hurry and not many are patient enough to wait for the confirmation message.

From creams to drinks, foods, drugs and other things that are used in or on the body, an extra minute for verification might just be the deciding factor at the end of the day.

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