Nigerians lament on the rising cost of living as the country’s inflation hits a 4-year high by more than 18 percent in March. Food prices are up by almost 23 percent.
The price of a crate of eggs, tomatoes paste, rice, beans etc has almost doubled since January. Some have skyrocketed beyond the national minimum wage. The honest but pathetic question at the lips of many Nigerians is, how much is our salaries?
A recent visit to Mararaba Market, Karu, Nasarawa State, a community strategically bordering the Federal Capital Territory with her inhabitants largely proven to be low and mid income earners working in Abuja, saw traders and customers lamenting about the soaring prices of goods.
In a chat, Jane John, who is working with a private organization said “You come to the market, just like the way you saw me pricing things, you no longer get them the same way we used to buy previously. Even the traders kept complaining on daily basis, they buy it very costly. We are getting frustrated and tired day by day”.
The inflation does not leave the labor market unaffected, there is a constant rise in joblessness among youths. The jobless rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3%. A third of the 69.7 million-strong labor force in the nation either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed at the end of 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The World Poverty Clock reports that at the latest count, Nigeria had 43 percent of its population or about 90 million people living below the poverty line of less than $1.90 per day.
Another civil servants, who work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told me while coming back on Friday that, the rate at which the price of food is going is very alarming.
If we that are on the payroll are complaining bitterly about increment in the price of goods, what about those that are not gainfully employed? What is the hope of common man on the streets who has wife and children? Seriously, my brother, this is beyond everybody, even the federal government obviously appears powerless.
“I don’t know how people in the village are faring now. I was thinking their situation is a bit better than we residing in cities and towns until I put a call through to my friend who is married and blessed with four children, only for me to found out that things is not easy as perceived. The only comparative advantage that the village has over us is the nonpayment of house rent, lands for cultivation and absence of excessive bills.
“If the singles are also finding it difficult to survive at this precarious time of our existence, then, what is the hope of married men?
“Whenever I went to get something for fasting, like grocery stores, I am not always happy with what the sales representative often give me. I thought she’s cheating not knowing that, it has become a new normal”.
To dear married men and women, you would come out of this strong, healthy and wealthy by His Grace. You and i didn’t bargained for this. I know what you guys are going through, but we should be focus and hope that everything would changed for good.
May the blessings of Almighty God be with you as you take the responsibility of your family at this excruciating time without complaining. I know is not easy, it is your task and your challenges. If you do not do it, who would do it for you?
Accepting the reality is the only option left for us at this trying time.
– Abubakar Yunusa writes from Abuja.