Early in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said Nigeria was out of recession. In it’s report announcing Nigeria’s exit from recession, the Bureau said, “In the second quarter of 2017, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.55% in real terms, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since Q1 2016.”
As at the time of this claim, many Nigerians were barely existing; putting food on the table was a near impossible task as prices of essential commodities did not just hit the roof, but practically blew it off.
Then, a paint (bucket) of Garri, the poor man’s staple was selling for between N1,000 and N1,200, a Derica of beans was going for between N350 and N400, while the price of a Derica of rice was selling for between N300 and N350.. Tomatoes, pepper, tatashe and onions were like gold, very expensive.
It was not, therefore, a surprise that Nigerians took the NBS claim with more than a pinch of salt. The only indicator that could tell them Nigeria was out of recession; price of consumer goods, didn’t agree with the report.
With the passage of time, The Next Edition, has carried out market survey to see if prices of essential commodities can corroborate the NBS claim after about two months.
Iya Fawaz who sells frozen foods and other edibles at Mushin Market said, “Prices are coming down small small.”And, indeed our survey has confirmed that. A carton of normal chicken lap sold for between N9,000 and N9, 500, Orobo lap went for between N10,000 and N10, 500 while full chicken sold for between N10,500 and N11, 000. The price of a carton of Turkey ranged between N12,000 and N13, 000, all lower than the prices two months ago.
Edibles like rice, beans, garri, tomatoes as well as confectioneries and toiletries also witnessed reduction in prices, though not stable.
Presently, a bag of rice goes for between N13,350 and N19,300 depending on the make while a derica sells for between N230 and N270.
A bag of olotu beans sells for N47,500, oloyin pelebe (small) sells for N33, 000 while oloyin sells for N42,000. The price of a derica has also come down to about N300 and N350.
However, the price of white beans seems to be rising rather than coming down. According to madam Victoria Iroegbu who sells Akara, “a bag of white beans, which I bought for N25,000 in August/ September, as at yesterday sold for N34,000.” Asked why this might be so, she said the malams hinged the increase on the activities of the Boko Haram.
Onions is another essential commodity which price is fluctuating. Iya Aisha, who sells onions at Ilasmaja, Lagos, told the Next Edition that the cost of a medium sized basket of white onions rose from N32,000, last week, to N40,000 while red onion jumped from N25,000 to N32,000 as at the time of filing this report.
Her words, “You can see that I don’t have white onions on display. All my customers know that I sell white onions but I couldn’t buy it today ( Nov. 2) due to cost. Rather than not having any onions to sell, I bought the red one.”
She posed the question, ” How many malams do you see pushing onions in a barrow? Anything you see malam hawking in a barrow, know that the price is still reasonable, but once the price goes up, you won’t see any malam hawking it.”
The same pattern of fluctuation also applies to fresh pepper which rose from N1,500 last week to N2,500. Tomatoes remained stable within the two months in review with prices ranging from N3,500 to N9,000 depending on the size.
Iya Aisha, however, lamented that the price when compared to this time last year was still high. “As at this time last year, the size of basket that I bought for N6,000 today was sold for N2,000. Ordinarily, onions, pepper and tomatoes should already be in season but then, you never can predict these things and malam has no explanations for anyone,” she said.
Our investigations also revealed that the prices of items such as groundnut oil, tomato puree, noodles, beverages and toiletries have come down. The 25kg keg of oil, for instance, sells for N12,000 as against N16,000 and above, a few months ago while the 5 litres sell for between N2,000 and N5,000 depending on the make.
What one has to bear in mind though is that prices vary from location to location. One should also take into account the Nigerian factor where some people would want to maximize profit at the expense of others.
All said, the greatest indicator that things are getting better for the common man is that a paint (bucket) of garri sells for N500 presently.
And for Iya Muiz, “price dey go up, e go come down, but e no bad as before..”
So, are we out of recession? Let your dinning table tell you.