As Nigeria marks her 59th independence anniversary on October 1, dealers and consumers of rice in some popular food markets in Lagos, are expressing disappointment over the astronomical recent increase in the cost of the commodity.
At Ile-epo market, a consumer, Mrs Eunice Akinfolarin, while speaking with CobraReview, says the development is not unconnected with the recent closure of Lagos – Seme border.
Eunice says: “The whole thing is getting messy by the day. I used to buy foreign rice for N18,000. That price didn’t change until about two weeks ago when I heard that the federal government has banned rice importation, all in a bid to encourage local production. The last time I bought a full bag of Nigerian rice (Tomatoe rice), it goes for N16,300. But I’m surprised that the same rice is now being sold for 19,000. I’m very sure this has to do with the border closure.”
In the same vein, Clementina Asogwa, a rice retailer tells CobraReview that the recent hike on the cost of buying rice is a national embarrassment.
“The federal government is clueless, if not, how do you tell us to be consuming made in Nigeria rice, and yet the price is going higher everyday. Can’t they control the price? Can’t the price be normalized? You closed border to encourage viral circulation of locally produced rice, yet, no rice, and the little ones in circulation are very expensive. How do we buy our home grown rice for N20,000? This is a shame,” she said.
At the popular Oja-oba Market in Agege, a rice dealer, Mr Patrick Osagie describes the situation as unfortunate and unwarranted. He thereby call on the federal government to look into the issue.
“it’s quite unfortunate that the price of rice, a highly consumed substance in Nigeria, is going high almost everyday. Since the closure of border, we (dealers) couldn’t access foreign rice like before, we have since settled for local rice (Tomatoe, Labana and a few others). Until recently, these rice used to be available and quite affordable. The scarcity is not unconnected to the fact that Nigerians now demand heavily for these rice. I will advise that the federal government look into the matter before it get out of hand.” he states.
Speaking with CobraReview at Iyanapaja market while making purchase, a consumer, who simply addresses herself as Seun says: “Although, the federal government may not have gotten it right by closing the border even when our production capacity is still low, but most of these dealers are evil. They are the ones hoarding the rice. They claimed there is no local rice in circulation, but I just bought two bags of Tomatoe rice for N19,500 each. If there is no local rice in circulation, where then do they get these ones from? ” she queries.
Reacting, Mrs Olamide Adeoluwa, a rice dealer, says the the Federal government, and not dealers, is to blamed for the negative development. She states the the price at which they (dealers) are buying from top dealers/ factory keep going high, hence, culminating to the high price placed on the commodity.
Her words: “Our customers are only accusing us wrongly. We don’t determine price. It is what we buy, that we’ll sell. Everyone is into a business to make profit. People forget that we eat rice also. The hatred and complaints should be directed to the government, not dealers,” she says.
Other consumers who had a chat with CobraReview correspondent advise that the federal government regulate the price of the commodity, adding that that any dealer found hoarding or selling above the regulated prices be prosecuted.
CobraReview recalls the the federal government had in September 2019, closed the Lagos – Seme border, an effort it says is geared towards curbing illegal importation of food and other items into the country. The move has since had a toll on the prices of food items, especially rice, which is commonly consumed in Nigeria.
How long this would last is what we cannot ascertain for now, but it is obvious Nigerians are not comfortable with the current situation.
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