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How Nigerians are coping with rising cost of living


As rising cost of living puts a strain on households, individuals are increasingly cutting spending to survive the difficult moment amid dwindling income and surging prices.

Food inflation is at a 14-month high, hitting 22.02 percent in July, while headline inflation accelerated to 19.64 – a 17-year high.

BusinessDay interviewed some Nigerians to share their experiences on how they are surviving the difficult moment and what they are doing differently. Here are some of their responses:

Idu Raphael

Raphael is a forex trader from Ibadan, Oyo State.

How are you coping with the rise in food prices and what are you buying less of?

The rise in the price of food is a disaster for a lot of people in Nigeria. Food is one of the basic needs of man and it is really important to make sure that everybody has access to good food by reducing the price of food in the market. The rate at which I buy bags of rice has reduced drastically from the previous years. Food prices are increasing continually without a corresponding increase in income and wages. Lots of people survive based on what they earn per month and if your earnings are static but the price of food is on a bullish run, how can an individual cope? There is a shift in my eating routine. The static income of workers and the increase in food prices bring a negative effect on workers.

What are you forgoing due to the cost of living crisis?

I have to forgo the rate at which I eat food. Before the rapid price increase, I usually ate three square meals. However, it has changed due to the cost of foodstuff.

How easy is it for you to move around?

Movement is still easy for me because I do not go out, but whenever, I feel the pinch from transportation costs. However, we cannot blame it on the drivers; rather we should blame the government for the increase in fuel prices.

Has your income increased in the last year?

Yes, it has. This is because I trade forex and I decide how much I make.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

I fear that if the economy continues to decrease, we could slip into another economic recession, which will lead to starvation. This will lead to an increase in crime, especially cybercrime, and also lead to a high rate of emigration. People will start living in the country for greener pastures outside Nigeria.

Precious Eke

Eke is an NYSC member in Delta State

How are you coping with the rise in food prices and what are you buying less of?

Due to the high cost of feeding, I have to buy raw foods in bulk because of fear of price inflation in days or weeks to come. I am buying less chicken and provisions because I cannot afford them.

What are you forgoing due to the cost of living crisis?

As a corper, it is almost impossible to afford anything, even a little luxury. I have to go for the cheapest products because they are more affordable and this means I might have to forgo value sometimes.

How easy is it for you to move around?

In the area where I live, it has been slightly easier because of the use of motorcycles. But I am aware that people living in cities and bigger towns are paying higher prices for transportation.

Has your income increased in the last year?

No, it has not. This is because I am a corper and I make the standard minimum wage in Nigeria as stipulated by the Nigerian government.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

I fear that the average Nigerian will no longer be able to afford balanced three square meals as well as other basic needs of life.

Read also: Weathering the inflation storm

Moyosore Adesina

Adesina is a social media manager in Ikorodu, Lagos

How are you coping with the rise in food prices and what are you buying less of?

The pace of inflation has not been kind to me at all, but I believe if you can stick to your budget, be rational, and forgo items that appear unnecessary, you’ll be able to save money and satisfy your most pressing needs, which will lead to fewer complaints. Besides that, I try to do a scale of preference and just choose the necessities that I know I cannot live without, such as water, rice, maggie, and indomie.

What are you forgoing due to the cost of living crisis?

I used to buy Sardine, Maryland cookies, and Pringles but now their price is on the high side. It’s painful, but I don’t get it as frequently as I used to. I only purchase them once a month if there are sufficient funds to spare. Going to the market and finding everything way too expensive is unpleasant. But as I stated, it is manageable if you keep your eyes off the needless items and go for fairly priced items that will please you, at least, till things return to normal.

How easy is it for you to move around?

It has not been easy, but we are Nigerians, we will always survive.

Has your income increased in the last year?

My income has not increased.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

Well, I don’t feel that afraid. A solution provider is always needed, so rather than being disturbed about the state of the economy, I focus my energy on improving myself so that I can buy the things I desire without stress. If it continues like this, I will assist others who are in need. It won’t get better by sitting around and waiting for the economy to stabilise while continuously complaining.

Mogbolu Immanuel

Immanuel is an NYSC member serving in Abuja. He is a part-time photographer and sells ice blocks as a side hustle.

How are you coping with the rise in food prices and what are you buying less of?

I do the best I can do. For me, the cost of food has made me enjoy eating healthy. I drink more water and little fruits here and there.

What are you forgoing due to the cost of living crisis?

Snacks, and other luxury food. Living in Nigeria isn’t about luxury right now, it’s about survival. Some basic comfort like air conditioner (AC) both in the car and at home because paying for units at home is becoming more difficult and the price of fuel has shot up against a stagnant salary structure. It is unfair.

How easy is it for you to move around?

Not easy at all. I only go to places that are extremely important to me, mostly work and church and I have had to cut down on social visits which I have realised is affecting my relationships.

Man is a social being and as much as we have social media (cost of data still on the increase), physical interaction is still of great importance and might I add, irreplaceable.

Has your income increased in the last year?

Well, since last year, my income has not increased.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

Well, man must survive; and considering the popular saying that a hungry man is an angry man, my fear is an increase in criminal activities. The mind can be very creative when it is forced to provide a means of survival. Do you think there is a crime in Nigeria now? Let the economy go on like this for another two years, you may not be able to step without special morning prayers.

Lorkaan Orbem

Orbem is a computer consultant from Makurdi, Benue State

How are you coping with the rise in food prices and what are you buying less of?

The rise in food prices is devastating to my finances. Because of this, I have started cutting down on all miscellaneous items like data, snacks, and even cosmetics. Now I only look towards spending on food.

What are you forgoing due to the cost of living crisis?

I have foregone lots of things that once made life bearable such as snacks and also eating out in restaurants. I now ensure I prepare all my meals.

How easy is it for you to move around?

I believe this is relative because when I was in Lagos and Abuja, I could relate to the high cost of transportation; but since coming to Benue, the change is not very visible.

Has your income increased in the last year?

No, it has not. If anything, it has reduced because it cannot cover my cost of living as it once did.

What are your fears if the economy continues like this?

If the economy continues to go down, I fear that most individuals will be out of their jobs, and violence will increase to a level never seen before.



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