Life as a Consumer When Market Prices have Gone up by Toby Nwazor

Toby Nwazor-Life as a consumer when prices have gone up
It is very painful that even the price of ‘matches’ (matchsticks) has been affected by the current economic downturn. Recently in Abuja, I got to a market and wanted to buy a pack of matches at the initial price of 50 naira. The guy, who was hawking on foot looked at me and said "100 naira". I walked away hoping to buy it in front. I thought he didn't know what he was saying until I saw it at the same price elsewhere.
Well, matches are still a small thing. What about rice, the common staple food of most Nigerians? A bag of rice now costs between 13k to 15k.  While the smallest measure sells for 500naira. Instead of eating rice, some people have turned to Amala and gbegiri (Soup made from bean paste) to survive the hard times. Since beans still fairly have the same price, some bean haters have now turned to lovers of beans. Lol. Talk about the positive effect of an economic downturn.

While everybody is complaining bitterly about the high price of tomatoes, some people have moved on to making stew with carrot, pepper, paw-paw, onion and tatashe (bell pepper). In my experience, it's a very perfect blend. Carrot is even good because of its anti-oxidant effect in the body. So, while you think you are suffering without tomatoes, you are actually getting fresher and increasing your longevity by adding fresh carrot to your blend. The stew can be richer and tastier.
Hard times bring out the creativity in people. It also shows that human beings must survive no matter the situation. Not also overlooking the fact that, it brings out new solutions or new methods which no one would have explored before now.
Life as a consumer at this time when market prices have gone up is really interesting. Potatoes are now in season and in abundance. If you cannot afford the price of yam, then you go for sweet potatoes which is by far sweeter and cheaper anyways.
Garri is no longer very affordable but the price of wheat is still the same. So is the price of yam flour. So, if you haven't tried other varieties of food before now, it is time to indulge your palate and strike a balance. You would eventually find out that you can actually do without garri. Except you are addicted to garri.
Of course, food sellers have also reduced the quantity they dish out to you. This means you have to pay more for a normal bowl that will satisfy you. Notwithstanding, some still prefer to eat at Bukas to avoid the stress of looking for what to eat. Those Bukas are the saving grace of some people after working their ass out in their offices.
As far as the economy and state of things are presently, I think employees are the worse off. Unlike entrepreneurs, their incomes are fixed. This is more reason to start a business today if you haven’t.
The most horrifying thing about going to the market these days is that any money you go with ends up being insufficient. Sometimes, I end up spending my transport fare in the market before realising that all the money is gone. Thank God for the proximity of my house to the market.
Even after doing your calculations at home, you still get to the market and realise that your money is chasing fewer goods. Virtually, every item in the market has increased in price, even seemingly unimportant things such as razor blades.
While the price of dispenser water is still steady, the same cannot be said of pure water. A bag of pure water is being sold for 120 naira or more.
In spite of all these, what baffles me the most is why prices usually plummet during festive periods? What does Milo or Peak milk have to do with a festive period? Search me! I’ve always thought those items should reduce so that several people can afford it during the festive season period but this is not the case.

The good news is that, come what may, under any circumstance, the Nigerian masses will always survive. Yes it is true, we are resilient people.

Toby Nwazor is a consumer goods entrepreneur with hands on experience Business start-ups, marketing and customer service. He is the founder of My Startup CEO. You may follow him on Twitter


  1. Well written, Toby!
    Hard times teach us survival.
    I think a lot of people should embark on growing their own food. Even if you have no big space, a few pots of tomatoes on your veranda will go a long way.
    We must find new strategies as it gets tougher.

    1. You are right Precious. Except most of us don't even know the first thing about planting. Funny enough, my mum used to plant vegetables and things in our back garden when we were growing up. But I guess I fancied myself too much as a city girl to keep my eyes on what she was doing. Lol


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