Five days after the federal government of Nigeria announced the removal of fuel subsidy from Premium Motor Spirit known as (petrol), Nigerians have started facing serious hardship.
Nigerians were stunned on Wednesday, May 11, when the federal government announced its decision to remove subsidy on the product and peg pump prices of petrol at N145/litre.
A lot of reactions followed suit as the citizens were cursing the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for deceiving them after he had in 2011 said he does not understand what subsidy means and that anybody who spoke about it was only a fraud.
Their reactions have now been justified as barely a week after the announcement, Nigerians can no longer afford the prices of food stuff in the market.
Survey shows that most the prices of most food stuff have doubled as a basket of tomatoes trippled from N6,000 to N18,000.
According to Tosin Gbadebo, a pepper seller at the retail market in Ogba Lagos, “during rainy season, tomatoes are usually costly because the wind interferes with the yield, but not to this extent because we are not in the month of July, when rain can fall any time.
“We are appealing to the government to look for an immediate solution to invest in the preservation of agricultural output so that we should have all-year availability of the item and even export the surplus.
“As it is now, consumers will continue to pay more for food items at a very high rate because when the rain fully starts, definitely the price of food stuff will increase.”
Toyosi Badmus, another trader who deals in sales of rice and beans in bags, said that a bag of 5okg of rice that she used to sell for N8,000 cannot no longer be sold for less than N13,000 while Garri that was sold for N3,500 now goes for about N8, 000.
Badmus who spoke on behalf of the market chairlady urged the federal government to revert the official price of fuel to what it was before so that the current challenges in the country can be resolved.
“Traders go through a lot of stress in transporting goods to the market. They will definitely add the cost differential to their goods. Where we used to board a bus to for N100 before is now N150. The distance determines the fee we are to be charged by the drivers,” Badmus said.
At the Mile 12 market, a tuber of yam which previously cost N500 now goes for N1,000. A bunch of bananas before was for N400 but is now N800. Tatashe and chilli pepper now cost N7,000 and N5,500 respectively, as against the N4,500 and N5,000 they sold for two weeks ago.
In the same vein, onions which previously cost N8,100 now goes for N10,700, while a 5-litre keg of palm oil sells is now sold for N1,500 contrary to the N1,300 people bought it before the fuel subsidy removal.
At the Agege market, the price of a 50kg bag of rice ranged between N13, 000 and N15,000 (depending on the brand), rising from the N10,500 it used to be sold.
Also, a carton of fish was sold N4,800 before but now, it is sold for N5,000; a 25-litre gallon of vegetable oil was before sold for N6,000 while it is now sold for N10,000.
The fruit sellers at Ikosi market, Ketu have also complained about low patronage of their product due to the removal of fuel subsidy as there is a huge increase in the price of vegetable and fruits.
The traders, who were looking really depressed have now appealed to the President Buhari to make their change mantra a reality before it is too late.