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    Food Inflation In Nigeria At An All Time High Of 40%

    Last month, I bought a bag of foreign rice for 90k.

    When my plug told me how much it was, I was stunned by the hike.

    For proper context, I bought the same bag of foreign rice for 35k last year.

    Out of frustration, I called my mom to lament.

    Even with her assurance that e go better, I kept muttering that this was not normal.

    We can’t be living like this, and we deserve better.



    This morning, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released the food data, which shows that food inflation in Nigeria is at 40%.

    This data from NBS validated why I bought a bag of rice for 90k.

    Food inflation, at 40%, is not normal anywhere in the world.

    Ukraine has been fighting Russia for two years and counting, but they don’t have 40% food inflation.

    Anywhere in the world, food inflation can spark crises and topple a sitting government.

    This is why it is acceptable to assume that this government will declare an emergency to address this issue.

    To tell you how much of a big deal food inflation is, in Egypt, the price of bread, a staple good, went haywire.

    The people of Egypt were agitated and angry, so the government had to introduce subsidies on bread to calm frayed nerves and keep the people of Egypt happy.

    But today, the prices of indomie, bread, indomie, sphagetti, turkey, chicken, and rice have gone through the roof in Nigeria.

    Our government thinks it does not matter.

    It matters, and the news from NBS indicates that there should be an urgency to declare an emergency due to the food crisis in Nigeria. However, we have not seen any urgency from your government on this issue, which is concerning.

    This is why 40% food inflation matters.

    As a young person, 40% food inflation makes you poorer.

    If the price of a bag of rice had been 15k, as it was in 2015, the 90k I spent buying one bag would have gone towards other things.

    The extra 75k on top could have gone into paying for my monthly DSTV,monthly payment for the wifi at home, my house cleaner monthly salary, and then buying my food for 2 weeks, and I will still have change to spare.

    So spending a whole 90k instead of 15k for a bag of rice made me poorer, and the same is true for many young people and families trying to survive and stay sane in these difficult times.

    What is the way forward?

    1) This government should declare an emergency on food inflation.

    If Nigeria were to be an ideal country, we should be receiving a daily briefing from the ministry of finance and the minister of agriculture on what the government is doing to tame food inflation, but we are not.

    Rather, we are a country of anyhowness.

    But it is not too late to declare an emergency on food inflation.

    We need to see this government’s urgency in dealing with food inflation.

    Nigerians are getting poorer because we are buying food at 40%  inflation.

    This is not normal or acceptable.

    2) Open the borders.

    It is evil that traders can’t bring food from the border to help push the price of food down, but IBB Dende, a notorious smuggler and friend of this government, can bring in anything he wants, and heaven won’t fall.

    What’s good for IBB Dende is good for the common citizens who are impoverished because we have a government that doesn’t think.

    Open the borders, please.

    Allow traders to bring in food from neighbouring countries and then watch the prices of food in the market go down overnight.

    This should be a short measure until the food price has fallen.

    3) Reduce the tariffs on rice and wheat.

    Wheat is a crucial food item because it serves as a raw material for indomie production. Spaghetti and bread

    However, Nigeria has a protectionist policy. This policy tends to protect wheat farmers in the north, resulting in a whopping 70% wheat tariff at the port for every wheat import into Nigeria from Russia.

    This is not right, and it is one of the reasons for Nigeria’s surging food inflation.

    The farmers in the north you are trying to protect don’t plant enough wheat, so why have a protectionist policy to protect them?

    Why

    The same farmers are even selling their wheat to neighbouring countries because they make more money exporting their wheat to Niger than selling it to end users in Nigeria.

    Nigeria, as a state, is starving its people so as to protect the minority who don’t even care about the country.

    This shouldn’t be the case, which is another reason to remove the 70% tarrif on wheat.

    3) Customs should charge their duties in naira.

    It doesn’t make sense for a country that is suffering 40% food inflation to continue charging port duties in dollars.

    This is another reason why we have 40% food inflation.

    Customs should, as a matter of urgency, revert back to charging importers of food items into the country in naira and not dollars.

    4) Tackle insecurity in the north.

    Bandits have made it impossible for farmers in the far north to visit their farms, and for the most part, farmers who summon courage to go pay levies and taxes to these bandits before they could farm.

    And then, these farmers pass the cost they pay to these bandits to the consumers who buy onions, tomatoes, and dry fish at a very expensive price.

    This anomaly exists because Nigeria has failed its farmers.

    When bandits tax their citizens before allowing them to farm and harvest their products, the government looks the other way.

    A serious government that wants to curb food inflation should be thinking of how to protect these farmers and make it possible for them to farm and harvest their products without paying tax to bandits.

    When a farmer in Jigawa pays a tax to Bandits to be able to farm and harvest onions

    It makes the price of onions in the South expensive.

    This should not be so.

    And finally

    Allow importers to bring rice, turkey, and fish from the port with zero or little duty.

    Overnight, this policy will crash the price of food items in the market.

    I live in Nigeria, and I’m not planning to live anywhere else.

    This is why I am so concerned about food inflation.

    Every month, it makes me poorer and takes a big toll on my finances.

    And in not an outlier.

    40% food inflation has also made millions of families in Nigeria poorer.

    This is why this government must act now.

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