Osinbajo sets up task force to tackle high cost of food items as Nigerians lament

Nigeria’s acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has set up a task force to address the challenges facing the nation’s troubled economy, especially in terms of continued high cost of food items.

Osinbajo set up the committee on Wednesday during the Federal Executive Council meeting, held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The task force has been given the mandate to reduce food prices in the county.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the committee will report their findings to the council within the next one week.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have continued to bemoan the high cost of food items in the country as prices continued to skyrocket on daily basis.

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For instance, market survey by The Daily Bells revealed that virtually all food items have witnessed over 50 per cent increment.

A bag of rice and paint bucket of beans had increased from N12,000 and N550 to N23,500 and N1, 200 respectively within few months.

A cup of Melon (Egusi) is now N250, up from N100. A cup of ogbono has skyrocketed to N400, away from the N200 it used to be in the past. Small bucket paint of garri had risen by 50 per cent from N400 to N700.
Considering that rice is a staple food in a majority of Nigerian homes, the high cost of purchasing the commodity is very frustrating. An apparently irked commuter lamented: “I do not understand this change that politicians promised. I am yet to see the change.”

“This is the first time in my life that I would buy a ‘Derika’ (unit of measurement) cup of rice for N230. During the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, a ‘Derica’ cup of rice was only N150.

“For how long will the price of rice continue to rise? The way things are going, we may get to the market the next day and find that the same ‘Derica’ cup of rice is now sold for N500.

“If everyone is blaming the soaring prices of goods and commodities on the high value of the dollar against the naira, does this mean that the government has no solution to the problem? It’s time the government intervened to stop the trend,” she stressed.

On the domestic front, many women out to purchase food items for their families, are groaning daily, considering the high prices of foodstuffs. While traders revealed that it is not the rise of the dollar per say that is affecting the high prices of fresh tomatoes and pepper in the market today, they attribute it to the season.

According to a trader, a basket of pepper which can be got at N8, 000 now used to sell for between N4, 000 and N4, 500.

According to a distraught man in Lagos, “We never had it this bad in this country.

“My family can no longer afford three square meals in a day. We have all along been getting food items on credit. But the foodstuff sellers are now tired of us, our neighbours and friends are also tired of us begging them for food. Everybody is really lamenting these hard times and the high prices of food items in the country”. Staple foods such as rice, beans, cassava flakes are now slipping out of the hands of average Nigerians.

Market survey conducted in some markets in Lagos reveal that the prices of some foodstuffs are now three times higher than what they used to be in 2015.

For instance, one of the customers at Mile 12 market, Mrs. Dorcas Timothy, argued that, the money she spends in buying foodstuffs has doubled compared to last year. She disclosed that she used to buy a bag of rice for her family but since the price has skyrocketed, she can only buy a paint bucket of rice.

A resident in Ajah area of Lagos revealed that, since the recession, feeding her family members has been major challenge saying, “What is most important to the family now is how to feed before thinking of pleasure”.

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