On May 29, 2023, when Bola Tinubu was sworn in as Nigeria’s 5th president under its democratic era, a medium-sized loaf of bread was sold for N600, but 100 days after his inauguration, with inflation in food prices, it now sells for N900, indicating a 50 per cent rise.
A 50kg bag of local parboiled rice sold for N34,000 on May 29 now sells for N42,000, while a 50kg of foreign parboiled rice now sells for N53,000 against N34,000.
The price of a bottle of vegetable oil rose from N900 to N1,200, while a 5-litre bottle sold for N8,200 as against N6,100 in May. A medium-sized crate of eggs sold for N2,200 during his inauguration now sells for N2,550.
Despite declaring a state of emergency on food security and unveiling an immediate, short and long-term plan for the sector, average food prices of critical staples across major cities in the country have surged by over 20 per cent, causing food inflation to hit 26.98 per cent in July – a new 17-year high.
This is happening when the country’s poverty rate is also worsening as subsidy removal, naira devaluation, and implementation of a value-added tax on diesel imports are causing further price spikes and amplifying a cost-of-living crisis in Africa’s biggest economy.
The average price of petrol has surged by 187 per cent since the subsidy removal, leading to a jump in transportation costs across the country.
The surge in petrol pump prices across the country is further straining the finances of millions whose incomes have already been hit by accelerating inflation.
“It is getting difficult daily for Nigerians, especially with the petrol subsidy removal and naira float and other reforms the Tinubu’s government is doing,” Demola Balogun, a mechanic at Ketu, Lagos, said. “They are good reforms but seriously hurting Nigerians and businesses. My family can’t even afford to eat thrice daily anymore as prices keep soaring.”
The effects of the inflation scourge are more evident in the northern parts of the country, where malnutrition and hunger rates are rising daily as millions of children litter the streets for food.
“Our cost of living has doubled owing to inflation, and we are left with nothing to feed,” said Ummi Ahmed, a 33-year-old housewife and mother of five in war-torn Mubi in Adamawa state – where people and animals fight to survive.
According to experts, the worsening cost-of-living crisis is causing a decline in living standards, hurting physical and mental health and exacerbating existing conditions.
When Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29, 2015, food inflation hit 10.04 per cent in June and rose marginally to 10.13 per cent in August, marking his first 100 days.
Food inflation under Tinubu’s administration surged 1.73 per cent in 60 days. The National Bureau of Statistics has not released the data for August.