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As Eid-el-Kabir celebrations approach, some traders and buyers in Ibadan have expressed concern over high cost of rams, foodstuffs and other commodities and services.
A survey carried out by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in some markets in Ibadan on Sunday revealed that all the respondents were bothered by the unstable nature of prices of goods and services.
Price checks at ram markets in New Ife Road, Egbeda, Adegbayi and Alakia areas of Ibadan showed that an average-sized ram, which sold for N40,000 in 2020, now cost between N60,000 and N65,000.
It was also observed that a big-sized ram is sold between N80,000 and N120,000.
At Aleshinloye market, rams cost between N30,000 and N110,000, a price range which Mallam Abdullahi Hashim, a ram seller, considered to be exorbitant.
Hashim told NAN that the high price was due to the security condition in the northern part of the country as well as high cost of transportation.
Similarly, another ram seller, Mr Ibrahim Jamiu, blamed transporters bringing the rams from the north for charging exorbitant fares.
Jamiu added, “even the prices of rams we rear here are high, because their feeds are costly too.
“We are only appealing to government to let its economic policies allow businesses to grow.”
Alhaji Abdulazeez Adeleke, who bought a ram for N63,000 at Adegbayi, also lamented its high price and those of other items.
According to him, the high cost of rams, food items and other consumables might not allow many families to celebrate the Salah as they would have loved to.
Another ram buyer, AbdulRashid Jimoh, said although rams were very much available, the prices were out of reach.
He, however, said that he could not but buy for his parents, no matter the cost.
In his opinion, Mr Sanusi Hassan, a ram buyer at Aleshinloye market, linked the scarcity and high cost of the animal with the cancellation of the 2021 hajj pilgrimage by Saudi Arabian Government.
This, he said, had created room for more Muslim faithful, who would have celebrated Salah in Saudi Arabia, to be at home for the festival.
Mr Morufu Sani, an intending ram buyer at Ojo-Oba market, regrettably said he could not afford to buy a ram due to its high cost.
“A big ram of my choice is sold for N140,000. Where do I get such money? Any meat we see, no matter how small, my family and I will manage it,” he said.
However, a rice seller at Oja-Oba market, Alhaja Olugbade Salami, said that prices of all foodstuffs, including rice, had increased even before the onset of the festive period.
“A bag of rice that we used to sell at below N20,000 is now sold for N26,000 and it is quite unfortunate that there’s no patronage now like before,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Bisola Salawu, an onion seller, said that buyers were no longer buying in bulk due to the hike in price of the item.
“Forty pieces of onion that we used sell for N2,000 before now sell for N2,500, and you will hardly see people buying in bulk as they used to,” she said.
As for tomatoes, a seller, Mrs Kawa Aminat, told NAN that a bucket of tomatoes, which sold for N800 in 2020, now sold for between N1,500 and N2,000.
“Almost all the prices of commodities brought from the North have gone up due to COVID-19 issues, transportation cost and farmers/herders’ crises.
For instance, six pieces of yam that used to sell for N4,500 now went for N6,000, resulting in reduced patronage,” she said.
Secretary, Arewa Pepper Sellers Association of Oyo State, Mallam Illiasu Bala, also said that Tatashe (Bell pepper) and Bawa (Sombo), which formerly sold at N7,000 per bag, had each increased to N20,000 per bag.
Also, Chairman, Oyo State Onion Sellers’ Association, Alhaji Azeez Ademola, who explained that onion was not in season, said that a small bag of onions was now N20,000, while the big bag was now N30,000.
A vegetable oil seller at Ojo-Oba market, who simply identified herself as Alhaja, said she had not sold anything since she opened her shop in the morning.
“A five-litre Kings Oil that was around N3,500 before is now sold for N5,000, and there’s no market. I have been sitting down like this since morning.
“Everywhere is dry. Whether Ileya or not, customers are not coming. Many people are even living on loans,” she said.
NAN, however, reports that prices of textile materials at Gbagi textile market remained stable, with 12 yards of locally-made Ankara fabric selling for between N3,000 and N7,000, depending on the quality.
However, a textile dealer, Mrs Aliratu Lasisi, complained of low patronage, attributing it to the poor economic situation of the country.
She observed that people were now more concerned about what to eat than what to wear.
Her submission was affirmed by operators in the fashion industry, as some tailors and fashion designers said there had been sharp decline in patronage, in spite of the Sallah that was fast approaching.
A tailor, Mr Saliu Ojedele, said, “Gone are days when we used to hire more hands to work night shifts in order to meet up with customers’ demands.
“Ordinarily, we ought to have started doing that, but it’s quite different now.”
A customer, Mr Abdullahi Wasiu, however, said that he was more particular about getting his children clothes to make them happy and comfortable in the midst of their peers and extended family members.
“For adults, you can wear whatever you have, especially if there are no means of buying new dresses. Aside that, getting ram is more important than buying new dresses,” he said.
Contrarily, a jeweler, Miss Nkechi Emeka, said that the soaring prices of consumer goods and services had not dampened people’s morale towards shopping.
“I will not say people are not buying like before. Yes, the percentage of those who usually visit markets during festive periods has reduced, but sellers are also not able to meet the demands.
“This is because of the increase in dollar rate and some of us did not have enough money to stock up before this week.
“Some sellers have even run out of goods because they didn’t get enough money to buy before this period,” she said.
Corroborating Emeka, a clothe vendor, described the rising prices of goods as an unfavourable trend for both buyers and small business owners.
“What some of us did to prepare for the demands of this season was to form groups. We contributed money to buy in bulk; we then split the goods for sale.
“However, the amount that we used to spend on purchasing 10 cartons is now what we use to buy one or two cartons.
“The prices are even unstable. What you buy today at N50,000 may go up to N55,000 within a week.
“The economy is really biting hard and the unstable prices have forced some of our colleagues to shut down,” she said.
A buyer, Mrs Mojo Daramola, who was at the market to shop for the festive period, lamented what she described as “outrageous prices”.
Daramola, who appealed to government to urgently intervene in driving down the prices of goods and services, said she was left with the option of buying fewer items, which mostly included her children’s clothes. (NAN)
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