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Research Analysis

Data War: MTN gains 8.18 million subscribers, as Airtel edges Glo, 9mobile in 2019

Data released by NCC as at last December, disclosed that MTN recorded 54.11 million data subscribers over Airtel’s 34.52 million subscribers in 2019.



Data War: MTN edges our Airtel for first time in 5 months as 493,556 subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile , MTN is winning the data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile, Data War: MTN gains 8.18 million subscribers in 2019, as Airtel edges Glo, 9mobile

Nigeria’s telecommunication landscape witnessed a high level of competition in terms of data offering in 2019, as operators in the industry show no signs of relent on efforts to increase their market share in a fickle industry.

According to data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for the period ending December 2019, while Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, gained 8.18 million data subscribers, Airtel successfully edged out Glo in terms of data subscribers, as the telco added 4.06 million subscribers over the indigenous brand.

MTN Nigeria, MTN gives update on USSD charge controversy, MTN’s never-ending $2 billion tax case has a new court date , BREAKING: MTN unveil 5G Network in Nigeria , Vector, some Nigerians pick holes in MTN's data charges

MTN leads the pack ahead Airtel

Competition between two of Nigeria’s largest data sellers took different turns in 2019, as MTN recovered from the drop recorded during the year. It is important to note that in June and August 2019, 845.3 million data subscribers dumped MTN for other networks.

Meanwhile, in a complete twist of events, at the end of December 2019, the total number of data subscribers on MTN data network rose to 54.11 million from 45.9 million it recorded in January. This means the telco added 8.18 million data subscribers.

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On the other hand, Airtel also recorded significant growth in the number of data subscribers in the year, adding 4.06 million data subscribers, taking the total number of data subscribers on the Airtel data network to 34.52 million from 30.4 million.

[READ MORE: MTN wins data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile)

In terms of market share, Airtel continues to trail MTN, as the latter expanded its overall market share in 2019.

At the end of December 2019, MTN’s total data market share rose further to 68.8 million subscribers from 67.34 million subscribers recorded in November. On the other hand, Airtel’s number of subscribers rose to 50.18 million from 49.65 million recorded in the previous month. Hence, MTN now controls 37.30% of the market populace, as Airtel takes 27.20%.

Regulation forces Airtel Africa to initiate shares listing in Malawi 

Glo regains momentum, as 1.81 million subscribers dump 9mobile

Despite a challenging year for Globacom in terms of its data subscribers base, the telco still managed to add 1.81 million subscribers between January and December 2019. As reported earlier, 1.67 million internet subscribers dumped Globacom in November alone.

Meanwhile, in December 2019, Globacom recorded a significant rise as 1.61 million internet subscribers were added to the network. The total number of data subscribers on Glo network rose from 27.6 million data subscribers in January to 28.9 million subscribers as at December 2019.

On the other hand, 9mobile ended the year without attracting any data subscriber. According to the NCC data, 9mobile continues its steady decline, as a total of 1.81 million subscribers dumped the network for others. In November alone, 210,374 internet subscribers dumped the GSM company, a rise from 122,711 internet subscribers in October and 156,065 recorded in September.

Data War: MTN gains 8.18 million subscribers in 2019, as Airtel edges Glo, 9mobile

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Internet remains slow in Nigeria despite the advent of 4G network

The advent of 4G/LTE in the global telecom industry was accompanied by the expectation of fast internet speed. The 4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology, succeeding 3G. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

However, years down the line, Nigeria is still faced with poor internet quality. In a recent survey conducted on 4G services in 77 countries including Nigeria, Network monitoring outfit, Opensignal concluded that congestion is messing with the 4G user experience. Nigeria ranked 75 out of 77 of the countries surveyed in terms of its 4G speed.

According to Opensignal, the 4G networks enjoyed today are light-years from the 3G that kicked off the mobile data revolution at the turn of the millennium, but the networks have their faults. The biggest among them are inconsistency and congestion.

While GSM companies continue to jostle for market share, it has often come at the expense of poor service and lack of accountability. Quite frankly, as an average internet user in Nigeria, one is usually left at the mercy of poor mobile internet services which frustrates one to seek limited alternatives.

[READ ALSO: Data War: MTN edges out Airtel, first time in 5 months as more subscribers…)

Actress Chioma Akpotha drags 9mobile for "excessive charges"

Nigeria’s internet download speed remains among the slowest in the world, and while the telcos continue to rake in heavy gains from data sales, consumers continue to groan for lack of fast and affordable internet services.

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While reporting, Nairametrics sought random subscribers’ opinions to determine how 4G network has improved user experience.

According to an MTN user, “Since I upgraded to 4G, the network seems faster, but it sometimes still frustrates me. My expectation on MTN 4G is not close to being met. Also, it is a known fact that the data bundle burns faster.”


To an Airtel user, “Airtel data network is relatively stable, and I am enjoying it. Although it still depends on the location, I move to some places and it’s difficult to check my mail. More so, it looks like Airtel is competing with MTN on whose data burns out faster.”

According to a Glo user, “I use 4G on Glo, and it is occasional fast and slow at the same time. The only thing I enjoy is that the data is cheap.”

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]



  1. jhugo

    February 18, 2020 at 8:03 am

    According to an MTN user,

  2. Mubarak salisu

    February 18, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you we happy

  3. Said Salla

    February 18, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Bit the mtn is now the worse telcom in Nigeria with regards to poor Internet speed, quick data consumption as well as poor calls services. I am very disappointed with mtn.

  4. Anonymous

    February 18, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Glo data seems to be the best now, but their 4g don’t work on some phones.

  5. Kingsley Smart

    February 18, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    Glo should better up their connectivity game

  6. Chikel

    February 19, 2020 at 1:43 am

    Honestly, I wonder what these telcos use their money for. 4G speed is abysmal in Nigeria. Only Airtel 4G is fast and relatively stable, MTN 4G come and goes like NEPA while Glo 4G is a joke. It’s even slower than Airtel 3G!

  7. Lovely

    February 19, 2020 at 7:56 am

    To increase there subscribers , I think they need to find a way to planet there Mass very where, especially that Glo. Airtel is making it for my side here

    • UOGroup

      February 19, 2020 at 7:57 am

      You are right

    • Anonymous

      July 14, 2020 at 10:21 am

      I is true

  8. Shina Arogundade

    February 20, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Kindly verify this statement
    “It is important to note that in June and August 2019, 845.3 million data subscribers dumped MTN for other networks.”

  9. Chijioke Anthony

    July 7, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    MTN is never the best in terms data and network even with the help of 4G MTN should be competing with glo and for glo they like money ritualist the would give u huge amount of data and take ur network… So Airtel is the best,and have a reliable and fast network likewise 9mobile

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Research Analysis

Access, GTBank, two others pay PWC & EY N1.5 billion as Audit fees in H1 2020 

PWC earned N1.24 billion, while EY got only N282 million from the total. 



Access, GTBank, two others pay PWC & EY N1.5 billion as Audit fees in H1 2020 

Four out of the FUGAZ banks – Access Bank, GTB, UBA, and Zenith Bank, paid a sum of N1.52 billion to Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PWC) and Ernst & Young (EY), as audit fee in the first half of 2020, from a total revenue of N1.27 trillion. 

Despite the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which put most aspect of the economy on hold in Q2 2020, two of the biggest audit firms in the country received a sum of N1.52 billion from four of the five tier1 banks in Nigeria. The audit fees paid by the four banks however, declined by 5.23% compared with the N1.61 billion paid in the same period of 2019.  

READ: Zenith Bank’s Profit After Tax in H1,2020 rises by 16.8% to N103.8 billion

Audit fees paid 

  • Access Bank paid a total of N467 million to PWC – the highest 
  • GTBank paid N409 million to PWC 
  • Zenith Bank paid N364 million to PWC  
  • UBA paid N282 million to EY. 

READ: Guinness Nigeria: Revenue recovers but operating performance remains weak


  • Access Bank paid N467 million in H1 2020, 16.8% less when compared with N561 million paid in H1 2019. 
  • GTBank increased its audit expenses by 4.6%, from N391 million paid to PWC in H1 2019 to N409 million in H1 2020. 
  • Zenith Bank paid a sum of N364 million to PWC in H1 2020, which represents a 3.9% decrease compared to N379 million paid to KPMG in H1 2019. It should be noted that Zenith Bank changed its Auditors in 2020 from KPMG to PWC. 
  • UBA paid a sum of N282 million to EY in H1 2020, 2.5% more than the N275 million paid to PWC in H1 2019. 

The four banks boast of a total asset value of N26.63 trillion, aggregate market value of N1.73 trillion as of 15th September 2020and posted an aggregate profit after tax of N303.56 billion in H1 2020.

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READ: Exclusive: Best bank in Nigeria judging by the numbers  

What it means 

PWC audited three of the accounts under consideration with UBA being the only exception. It is handled by EY. Findings revealed that while PWC earned N1.24 billion (81.6%) out of the total audit fee of N1.52 billion, EY got only N282 million (18.4%). 

Decline in profit 

The four banking giants posted an aggregate profit after tax of N303.6 billion in H1 2020, a marginal decrease of 1% compared to N306.6 billion posted in the comparable period of 2019. However, only Zenith Bank managed to record a positive growth in profit, as it grew its profit after tax by 16.8% from N88.9 billion in H1 2019 to N103.8 billion in H1 2020. 

UBA on the other hand, recorded the highest negative growth in profit. It posted a profit after tax of N44.4 billion, as against N56.7 billion recorded in H1 2019. This is followed by GT Bank, which recorded a 4.9% decline in profit, from N99.1 billion to N94.3 billionAccess Bank posted a profit after tax of N61.04 billion, 1.4% decline compared with the N61.9 billion recorded in the previous year. 

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Bottom line 

The decline in profit posted by the tier-1 banks could be attributed to the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also reflected in the audit fees paid to auditors during the year. However, despite the economy contracting by 6.1% in Q2 2020, the banking sector saw its activities grow by a massive 28.4% (year-on-year). 


Note: FBN was exempted from this analysis because their Half year 2020 financial is unaudited 

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Research Analysis

Prices of flour, rice, beans, tomatoes, pepper, others jump, as low patronage hits major markets

The report contains information on items that witnessed price increase, price decrease, as well as insights.  



Alert: Tomato prices are up by over 80% in these Lagos markets, Prices of flour, rice, beans, tomatoes, pepper, others jump, as low patronage hits major markets

Despite the ease of lockdown in the country, the prices of household items continue to trend upwards, as traders across Lagos markets have once again lamented the sustained decline in patronage. This is according to the latest Household Market Survey conducted by Nairalytics, the research arm of Nairametrics 

The persistent increase in the price of food items across major markets in Lagos State continues to hit harder on consumers, as local and foreign rice, tomatoes, pepper, flour amongst others, recorded significant surges in their prices.  

Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

According to the latest report, a 50kg bag of Mama Gold flour that was initially sold for an average of N11,575, now sells for an average of N16,500 – a 42.6% increase. Also, a 50kg bag of Mama Gold rice now sells for an average of N28,875, as against N24,375 recorded two weeks ago. 

The survey further shows that a big bag of pepper increased by 23.1%, to sell for an average of N16,000, compared to an initial average of N13,000. A big basket of round-shaped tomatoes, now sells for an average of N12,000. 

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The report contains information on items that witnessed price increase, price decrease, as well as information on special markets, and insights.  

(READ MORE: Prices of tomatoes, garri, potatoes, others jump as low inventory hits major markets)

Items that witnessed price increase  

Listed below are the items that recorded significant price increase: 

  • A 50kg bag of Honeywell flour increased by 24.7%, from an initial average of N11,525 to sell for N14,375, while Mama Gold brand sells for an average of N16,500. 
  • A 50kg bag of Dangote flour now sells for an average of N14,333, compared to N11,067 recorded a fortnight ago. 
  • A big bag of pepper that was initially sold for an average of N13,000, now sells for an average of N16,000 – a 23.1% increase.
  • A big basket of round shaped tomatoes increased by 9.1% to sell for an average of N12,000, compared to an initial average of N11,000. 
  • The cost of a big basket of oval shaped tomatoes spiked by 14.3%, from an initial average of N7,000 to sell for an average of N8,000. 
  • A 50kg bag of Mama Gold rice now sells for an average of N28,875, from an initial average of N24,375 – a 18.5% increase. 
  • A big bag of brown beans increased by 8.6%, from an initial average of N30,375, to sell for an average of N33,000. 
  • A 5-litre gallon of vegetable oil that was sold for an average of N2,525 two weeks ago, now sells for N2,750 – 8.91% increase. 
  • A bag of bush mango seeds (Ogbono) increased by 5% to sell for an average of N105,000. It was initially sold for an average of N100,000. 

Items that witnessed price decrease 

Some of the items that recorded slight decrease in prices include: 

  • A 50kg bag of garri (Ijebu) that reduced by 5.31%, to sell for an average of N13,375, compared to an initial average of N14,125. 
  • A big basket of sweet potatoes that was initially sold for an average of N18,000, now sells for N14,000 – a 22.2% decrease. 
  • A 5-litre gallon of Kings oil now sells for an average of N3,000, as against N3,050 recorded last month. 
  • A big bag of dry onions reduced marginally by 2.11%, to sell for an average of N34,750, compared to N35,500 recorded two weeks ago. 
  • A big bag of new onions now sells for an average of N25,500, a 1.92% reduction, compared to an initial average of N26,000. 

Items that maintained initial prices 

Items whose prices remained the same, compared to two weeks ago include: 

  • A crate of egg which continues to sell for an average of N1,200, same as recorded in the previous report. 
  • A medium-sized basket of round shaped tomatoes continues to sell for an average of N7,000. 
  • A 50kg bag of beans (Oloyin) sells for an average of N20,375. 
  • A 400g tin of Peak Powdered Milk sells for an average of N1,200, while 900g still sells for an average of N2,363. 
  • The various sizes of cartons of noodles maintained their initial prices – 305g Indomie (N3,150), 210g Indomie (N3,200), and 100g Chikki (N2,150).  
  • 500g and 900g Milo tins still sell for N1,038 and N2,125 on average respectively across the four markets.
  • A carton of Golden Penny Pasta sells for an average of N4,325. 

READ: FAAC disagrees over revenue allocation for FG, States, LGs

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Special markets/items 

Nairalytics had reported two weeks earlier, that prices of major food items such as rice, beans, pepper, and other items recorded significant increase. This was partly attributed to seasonal fluctuations and supply chain bottlenecks caused by the COVID-19 induced lockdown. 

In the latest increase, traders decried the sudden jump in price of flour. Flour, which is a necessity for the production of items like bread, cakes, and confectioneries, recorded a significant spike, as a 50kg bag of flour witnessed a 29.5% increase in price.

(READ MORE: Buyers earn 125,322% profits)

An interview with a trader at Oyingbo market revealed that customers have become disgruntled with the persistent increase in prices of most food items, as it has become a cause for worry to the traders, “We are worried about this continued increase in price of food, as some of our customers now decide to buy less due to the price increment, while others just take a walk,” She said. 

She further revealed, “Bakeries have now increased the price of bread, as the increase in price of flour has affected their already declining profits.”  

READ: Only customers with minimum of 12 hours electricity can have tariff increase – FG

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Below are the prices of various brands of rice sighted at Daleko market:

Mama Gold (10kg) – N4,500; Royal Stallion (50kg) – N29,000; Rice Master (10kg) – N5,000; Mama Gold (50kg) – N29,000; Caprice (50kg) – N29,000; Mama’s Pride(50kg) – N24,500; Umza (50kg) – N24,500; Labana (50kg) – N25,000; Alamzat (50kg) – N23,500; Big Bull (50kg) – N25,000; Mama’s Choice (50kg) – N24,000. 


Market insights 

Major tomato traders at Mushin market, during the week, blamed the increase of tomatoes on the fact that, the season for the oval shaped tomatoes is coming to an end. According to Mrs. Jamiu, “Very soon, oval shaped tomatoes will no more be available in the market, as its season is almost over.”  

Nairametrics, earlier reported that a small basket of oval shaped tomatoes was sold for an average of N800 at Mushin market last month. However, it has doubled in price, and now sells for an average of N1,700. 

(READ MORE: Prices of beans, potatoes, palm oil, others jump as traders lament hike, seasonal scarcity)

Mrs. Olaoluwa, who also sells at Mushin market, shared a contrary opinion. She attributed the increase in price of major food items including tomatoes to the approaching festivity.

“As the year is coming to an end, it is normal for prices of items in Nigeria to jack up, it is just hitting harder this year because of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.” She said 

When Nairalytics Research visited Daleko market, Mrs. Oladayo, reiterated that the Federal Government’s decision to restrict importation of rice, is the major cause of the increase in price of rice. According to her, Nigeria is not able to produce enough rice that can circulate across the country, hence the unavoidable scarcity. 

She reiterated that the stony rice being sold in the markets also affects the prices of the commodity, as most consumers who do not wish to buy the inferior quality, will have to pay more for neater brands of rice.  

READ: Ethereum miners made $113 million in August 2020

ItemsBrandUnitMUSHIN (10/09/2020)DALEKO (10/09/2020)OYINGBO (10/09/2020)MILE 12 (10/09/2020)Average MUSHIN (27/08/2020)DALEKO (27/08/2020)OYINGBO (27/08/2020)MILE 12 (27/08/2020)Average
Bag of RiceMama Gold10kgNA4000450050004500NA4000450047004400
Bag of RiceRoyal Stallion50Kg30000NA29000310003000030000NA290002900029333.333333333
Bag of RiceRice Master10kg4000NA450042504000NA40004000
Bag of RiceMama Gold50kg29500290002900028000288752500023500250002400024375
Bag of RiceCaprice50kg30000NA290003000029666.66666666730000NA290002900029333.333333333
Bag of RiceMama's Pride50kg25000240002500025000247502500024000230002400024000
Bag of RiceFalcon25kgNANANANANANA
Bag of BeansOloyin50kg20000195002000022000203752000019500200002200020375
Bag of BeansWhite50kg30000300003500032000317503000029500350003200031625
Bag of BeansBrown>50kg32000340003500031000330002700029500350003000030375
Tuber of YamAbuja1 Big Size Tuber1000900100010009751000900900800900
Tuber of YamAbuja1 Medium Size Tuber600800650800712.5600800500800675
Carton of NoodlesIndomie305g (Belle full)3200310032003100315032003100320031003150
Carton of NoodlesIndomie210g (Hungry man)3200320032003200320032003200320032003200
Carton of NoodlesChikki100g2200220021002100215022002200210021002150
Carton of NoodlesMinimie70g2100165017001650177521001650170016501775
Carton of NoodlesGolden Penny70g1700140014001400147517001400140014001475
Bag of GarriIjebu50kg14000135001300013000133751400014000140001450014125
Bag of GarriWhite50kg13000125001250012500126251300011500130001200012375
Bag of GarriYellow50kg12500130001200013000126251150012500120001200012000
Basket of PotatoSweetBig Basket1400014000200001600018000
Basket of PotatoSweetSmall Basket700700700700600650
Basket of PotatosweetSmallest Basket400250325400200300
Basket of PotatoIrishBiggest Basket330002800030500330002800030500
Basket of PotatoIrishSmall Basket2500250025002500
Basket of PotatoIrishSmallest Basket170015001600170015001600
Packet of PastaGolden Penny500g4400440043004200432544004400430042004325
Packet of PastaDangote500g4100410042004100412541004100420041004125
Packet of PastaPower (1 pc)500g220220220220220220220220220220
Packet of PastaBonita (1 pc)500g200200230220212.5200200230220212.5
Gallon of Palm OilLocal5 Litres2700230023002400242527002300230024002425
Gallon of Palm OilLocal25 Litres12000115001250013000122501200011500125001250012125
Gallon of Vegetable OilLocal5 Litres2700250023003500275027002500230026002525
Gallon of Vegetable OilLocal25 Litres14000135001350014800139501400013500135001400013750
Gallon of Vegetable OilKings5 Litres3200300030002800300032003000300030003050
Gallon of Vegetable OilWesson5 Litres4500390039004300415045003900390039004050
Gallon of Vegetable OilMamador3.8 Litres25002450250028002562.525002450250024002462.5
Gallon of Vegetable OilPower3 Litres1900180018002200192519001800180018001825
Bunch of PlantainPlantain1 Bunch500500500600525500500500500500
Bag of FlourDangote50kg13500150001450014333.33333333311200110001100011066.666666667
Bag of FlourHoney well50Kg14500135001450015000143751250011200112001120011525
Bag of FlourMama Gold50kg16000165001600017500165001300011300110001100011575
MilkPeak Powdered (Tin)400g1200120012001200120012001200120012001200
Milkpeak Powdered(Tin)900g23502400240023002362.523502400240023002362.5
MilkPeak milk (Refill)500g1000100010001000100010001000100010001000
MilkDano Powdered (Tin)500g1000100010001000100010001000100010001000
MilkDano Powdered(Tin)900g2600200020002000215026002000200020002150
MilkDano (Refill)500g800800800800800800800800800800
MilkThree Crown (Refill)380g700700750700712.5700700750700712.5
MilkLoya Powdered (Tin)400g1000100010501016.66666666671000100010501016.6666666667
MilkLoya (Refill)400g800850800816.66666666667800850800816.66666666667
MilkCoast (Refill)500g750750750750750750750750
Cocoa BeveragesMilo (Tin)500g10001100105010001037.510001100105010001037.5
Cocoa BeveragesMilo (Tin)900g2200210021002100212522002100210021002125
Cocoa BeveragesMilo Refill500g10009009009009251000900900900925
Cocoa BeveragesBournvita Refill500g10009509009501000950900950
Cocoa BeveragesBournvita (Plastic)900g20002000200020002000200020002000
Cocoa BeveragesOvaltine Refill500g800850850833.33333333333800850850833.33333333333
Cocoa BeveragesOvaltine(Plastic)500g1100100011001066.66666666671100100011001066.6666666667
CoffeeNescafe Classic50g600600600600600600600600600600
TeaLipton Yellow label52g300290300300297.5300290300300297.5
TeaTop tea52g300300300300300300300300300300
SugarSt' Loius Sugar(Cube) 500g500550550550537.5500550550550537.5
SugarGolden Penny Sugar (cube)500g300350350400350300350350400350
BreadVal-U1 loaf450NA450500466.66666666667450NA450500466.66666666667
BreadButterfield1 loaf450450500500475450450500500475
Bottled Water (Refill)CwayRefill600600650600612.5600600650600612.5
Juice5 Alive1 litre550550550600562.5550550550600562.5
JuiceChivita1 litre550550600550562.5550550600550562.5
TomatoesBig Basketround shaped12000120001100011000
TomatoesMedium Basketround shaped7000700070007000
TomatoesSmall Basketround shaped5500550055005500
TomatoesBig BasketOval Shaped8000800070007000
TomatoesSmall BasketOval Shaped5500550050005000
FishKote (Horse Mackerel)1 big Fish600600550650600600600550500562.5
FishTitus (Mackerel)1 big Fish600550550750612.5600550550600575
PepperBig bag16000160001300013000
PepperMedium bag7000700065006500
MelonBig bag400003500037500400003500037500
OnionsBig bagDry Onions350003450034750350003600035500
OnionsBig bagNew Onions2500026000255002600026000
Bush mango seed(Ogbono)1 big bag105000105000100000100000
Frozen foodFull chickenCarton1300013000130001300012500127001300012733.333333333
Frozen foodChicken lapCarton1300013000
Frozen foodTurkeyCarton17000165001700016833.333333333167001600016350

About Nairametrics Food Price Survey 

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

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Research Analysis

Nigeria total public debt hits N31 trillion as debt service gulp over N1.2 trillion in H1 2020 

A report recently released by the DMO reveals that the country’s debt has hit N31 trillion.



Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock (Foreign & Domestic), as at June 2020 stood at N31.01 trillion ($85.9 billion)- 8.31% increase when compared with N28.63 trillion ($79.3 billion) recorded in March 2020. This was disclosed in the Nigeria public debt report, recently released by the Debt Management Office (DMO). 

The breakdown shows that total external debt stood at N11.36 trillion ($31.47 billion), accounting for 36.65% of the total debt stock, while domestic debt represented 63.35% of the total debt. Domestic debts stood at N19.65 trillion ($54.42 billion) as at June 2020. 

READ: CBN pays $4.45 billion external debt to World Bank, others in 2-month

The report also reveals that N921.9 billion was used to service domestic debts between January and June 2020, while N288.6 billion ($759.6 million) was used on foreign debts, making a total of N1.21 trillion. Compared to N1.06 trillion spent in the same period of 2019, debt service increased by 14.6%. 


  • Federal government foreign debt in the period under review stood at N9.82 trillion ($27.2 billion). This represents 86.5% of the total foreign debts, while the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory recorded external debt of N1.54 trillion ($4.26 billion). 
  • In terms of domestic debts, the federal government accounted for 78.7% of the federation local debts, as States including the FCT accounted for the remaining 21.3%. 
  • Foreign debt grew by 13.8%, compared to $27.7 billion (N9.9 trillion) recorded as at the first quarter of the year. 
  • Nigeria’s public debt grew by $22.09 billion in the last 5 years, indicating an increase of 34.6%.

READ: 2020 revised budget, spending inefficiencies, and a looming debt hole  

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According to the press release, the recent increase in Debt Stock was as a result of th$3.36 billion Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), New Domestic Borrowing, which was used to finance the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act, including the issuance of N162.56 billion Sukuk, and Promissory Notes issued to settle Claims of Exporters. 

Meanwhile, a cursory look at the historic trend shows that Nigeria’s total public debt increased by $22.09 billion between June 2015 and June 2020when multiplied by the prevailing exchange rate of N380/$1, it translates to a total additional loan of N8.39 trillion within 5 years of the current administration. 

Despite facing economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and characterized by contraction in economic activities, reduced capital inflows, trade decline across international borders, coupled with reduced government revenue as a result of decline in global oil price; Nigeria spent a sum of N1.21 trillion to service both domestic and foreign debts between January and June 2020. 

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The N1.21 trillion debt service expense represents 11.2% of the total revised budget of N10.8 trillion for the year 2020, an indication that over 11% of this year’s budget has been expended on debt servicing just half-year. Meanwhile, the funds being spent on debt servicing can be seen as another way of wasting limited resources while funding very little capital expenditure, that could be used to stimulate the productivity of the country.   

Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shows that over the past 5 years spanning 2015 and 2019, the Nigerian government spent about N34.83 trillion, comprising of both recurrent expenditure (73.1%), capital expenditure (19.2%) and transfers (7.8%). This means that only about 19% of the debt load has been invested in further developing the nation through the creation of relevant infrastructure. The rest were spent on recurring expenses like salaries. 

READ: LCCI condemns Senate over Buhari’s $22.7 billion loan approval

More loans to be expected 

The DMO stated in its press release, that it expects the Public Debt Stock to grow as the balance of the New Domestic Borrowing is raised, and expected disbursements are made by the World Bank, African Development Bank (AFDB), and the Islamic Development Bank, which were arranged to finance the 2020 Budget. 

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It also stated that Additional Promissory Notes are expected to be issued in the course of the year, this, and new borrowings by State Governments, are also expected to increase the Public Debt Stock. 

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