Subsidy Removal:Consumers,Traders In Imo Worry Over Soaring Food Prices

by admin

*As Inflation Hits 22.7 percent

*Uzodimma Vows To Set Up Imo Marketing And Commodity Board To Check Hike In Food Prices

Food prices has continued to soar in Imo State, as inflation hits 22.79 percent.

The increase in food items is not peculiar to the State alone, as the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu, swelled the prices of food items across the federation.

“Daily, prices of food items is on the rise. There is no day traders do not hike the prices of food items” said Ms Agnes Ekwueme, a civil servant who lamented to INNONEWS at the popular Relief market, Egbu road, Owerri.

This newspaper observed that prices of food items at Eke Ukwu Owerre and Relief markets, the two major markets in the State capital, Owerri, are on the rise.

Traders however lament that the soaring prices are caused by increase in cost of transportation and other logistics.

Mazi Obinna Igwe, a tomato seller at Relief Market said the increase in price of petrol is largely responsible for the hike in the commodity.

“Before the removal of fuel subsidy, we sold a basket of tomatoes for N2,900, now we sell at N4,500.

“Depending on the size of tomatoes you are bringing in, the cost of transporting the commodity has increased by over 300 percent” he said.

Further observations show that a small paint size for rice, which was sold for N2, 000 leapfrogged to N3,400 after the subsidy removal.

A cartoon of Indomie noodles, earlier sold for N2,900, now sells for N3,500.

Agbono which was sold for N800 per cup, has gone up to N1,500. Same for Egusi, which was sold for between N100-N150 per cup, is now sold for N500.

A small tin of baby milk depending on the variety, which was sold for N2,500 before the hike in price of fuel, now sells for N2,900 and N3,000.

A businessman, Mr. Sylvanus Udemba, told this newspaper that he has drastically adjusted his expenses since the hike in fuel price and subsidy removal.

He said “The economy is biting and I wonder what manner of palliatives by the Federal Government will solve this problem. The suffering in the land has redoubled. And the President says he will pay N8,000 per month to 12 million households.

“What happens to over 199 million Nigerians who are also affected by the subsidy removal and hike in food prices? And what will a meagre N8,000 do for anyone. This is a mockery” he stated.

Udemba noted that the price hike is not just for food items alone.

“Other items, such as clothes and other necessities have gone up. I cannot remember when I bought new clothes because I cannot afford them for now.

“In a week, I go out with my car twice because buying fuel N520 per liter is outrageous” he said.

Some traders who spoke to this newspaper at Relief Market, Owerri complained of low sales and patronage.

They however contend that the constant hike in prices of goods is not their making.

Emeka Igwe, a cosmetics seller said business has been bad.

“We increase prices depending on the price we buy the products or goods. There is low sales. And it is not improving. I wonder why Tinubu will deliberately inflict pain on Nigerians in the guise of removing subsidy.

“If he is feeling the hardship in the country like other citizens, he would not be quick to take such a drastic action” he said

However, in a bid to cushion the effect of subsidy removal and checkmate the prices of food items in the State, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, at the weekend, said his administration will establish the Imo State Marketing and Commodity Board.

“I have discovered with pain, how traders are taking advantage of the economic situation to increase the prices of food items in the market.

“The State government will soon establish the Imo State Marketing and Commodity Board, which will ensure food items are sold at normal prices.

“We shall achieve this by setting up low cost markets in the State where prices of food items and commodities will be affordable for the masses. The markets will be situated in the 27 LGAs of the State” Uzodimma told Imo stakeholders at a summit in Owerri last week.

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