Prices of staple foods and groceries have surged significantly on election week, on the back of customer panic-buying, cash drought, and logistic issues. This is according to findings by Nairametrics Research across several markets and shopping malls.
Findings revealed that prices of tomatoes, pepper, onions, potatoes, yam tubers, and rice increased in February compared to the previous month.
Food price increases: Specifically, the price of round-shaped tomatoes increased from an average of N12,000 recorded in January 2023 to N18,000 in the review month.
- A big bag of onions is sold for an average of N35,000 at Mile-12 market in February 2023, an increase compared to N30,000 recorded in the previous month.
- In the same vein, the price of foreign rice (50kg) has increased to an average of N36,000 from N33,000, while local rice, specifically Big Bull rose to N38,000 from N35,000.
- A big tuber of yam that was sold for an average of N1,400 has risen to N1,800 on election week.
According to traders in the various markets surveyed by Nairametrics Research, the demand for household food items have reason significantly in the past week, as Nigerians stock up for the election period.
This is following rumours of an intended banking shutdown during the election period, which has been refuted by the Nigerian Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB), who have insisted by banks and their digital channels will not be closed to Nigerians during the elections.
Long queues at malls: Nairametrics team observed long queues at shopping malls and supermarts around Lagos State during the week, largely due to panic-buying in anticipation of the presidential elections coming this Saturday.
- Also, due to the cash drought in the country, Nigerians now have to patronise businesses that accept POS and mobile transfers as means of payment, in a bid to avoid the use of physical cash.
- Petty businesses in the country, are still insistent on the collection of cash, as most of their transactions are in hundreds of naira.
- The Nairametrics team also sighted some Nigerians visiting the shopping mall to buy as little as a packet of noodles, to pay using their ATMs or transfers.
Why the price increase: While election-induced panic buying has been cited as the main reason for the rise in the prices of goods during the week, traders have also explained that logistic issues around travelling from the north to the south have contributed to the price increases.
- Specifically, in a conversation with Hassan, a vegetable seller at Mile-12 Market, he noted that the volume of goods coming into the market from the north has reduced due to the election period, as drivers are becoming cautious about travelling.
- He also added that sellers have increased the cost of their goods, especially for those who prefer to transfer to account for withdrawal charges that they might be exposed to, due to the cash crunch.
- Mrs Olanike, a rice seller at Daleko Market lamented that she does not have goods in her store anymore as suppliers have also insisted on cash payments, while customers do not have the cash to pay her.
- “I don’t have goods anymore in my shop. I don’t have the cash to make purchases, my customers also do not have the cash to pay me, and my shop has remained empty for the past two weeks due to lack of cash,” she said.
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