By Glory Monday
A few days to the commencement of the Ramadan fast, the prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities have increased in most markets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Survey in Abuja showed that the prices of foodstuffs and other essential commodities mostly used for Ramadan such as fruits, vegetables, pepper, tomatoes had increased.
Mr Hamidu Audu, a foodstuff seller in Dutse market, attributed the rise in the prices of the commodities to the Ramadan fast as Muslims need them for the period.
Audu said that the prices of a bag of the various brands of imported rice had gone up to between N18, 000 and N23, 000 as against the former prices of between N15, 000 and N18, 000, a few days ago.
“Similarly, a bag of beans, which formerly sold for N20, 000 has also increased to N25, 000.
“A measure of beans still sell for between N500 and N700, depending on the type. The price of millet, sorghum and maize had stabilised at N300 per measure.
“The price of sugar, a commodity in high demand during the fasting period, has increased from N600 to N800 per measure and N15, 000 per bag as against N8, 000.’’
Mr Muhammadu Bala, fruits dealer also in Dutse market, said that the price of a bag of oranges had gone up from N5, 000 to N7, 000.
He said that the same applied to the other fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, water melon, banana, apple and cucumber.
“The prices of fruits such as oranges, banana and water melon have slightly appreciated.
“One orange sells for between N20 and N30 as against the former price of N10 to N15, while a bunch of banana sells for between N700 and N1, 000, depending on the type and size.’’
Mrs Mohammed Rifkat, a housewife, who bemoaned the increase in the cost of foodstuffs, said that she could no longer maintain the food need of her family of four.
She pleaded with the government to revive the price control board to check the activities of shylock food sellers for food to be affordable.
A tomato seller, Mr Yahaya Musa, said the price of a basket of tomatoes had gone up to N12, 000 as against between N5, 000 and N6, 500.
Musa attributed the hike in the cost of these items to the Ramadan fast and the N30, 000 new minimum wage announced by government.
Mrs Florence Adeniji, another trade in Bwari market said that the prices of imported food items such as rice, frozen fish, and vegetable oil moved up by 10 per cent in the last few days.
“The cost of frozen fish has increased with a medium sized fish selling for between N350 and N500 as against the former price of between N200 and N300.
“Ten litres of foreign vegetable oil, which formerly sold for between N2, 800 and N3, 000 is now selling for between N3, 500 and N4, 000, depending on the brand.
Another trader, Mrs Hadiza Muazu, in Bwari market said that a tin of powdered peak milk is now selling for N1, 100 as against the former price of N800 last week.
She said that the cost of a 50kg bag of granulated sugar had shot up from N10, 000 to N15, 000.
Muazu said that the increase was due to the activities of some wholesale traders, who hoard essential commodities as the Ramadan fasting was approaching to create artificial scarcity.
“I appeal to traders to shun the craze to make quick money during the period.
“If things continue this way, it will be extremely difficult for the unemployed to survive in the country in the nearest future,’’ she said.