- Fuel Scarcity: Traders, Others Lament High Transportation Costs
The fuel scarcity that started shortly before Christmas has registered its expected impact on the prices of items in the market owing to the attendant hike in transportation costs.
According to the Chairman, Ikeja Shop Owners Association, Mr. John Okonkwo, in the past one week fares have gone up by as much as 25 per cent and this has informed an increase in the prices of items sold in the market.
Okonkwo said that the items that sold at N800 before now were being sold for N1,200 while those sold previously for N1,000 had gone up to N1,500.
He said people bringing goods from the rural hinterland complained that the cost of transportation was too high and they had to increase the price of their produce.
On Sunday, there were reports of a nationwide increase in food prices due to the fuel scarcity.
For instance, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that in Owerri, a basket of tomatoes, which sold for N6,000 increased to N10,000 while price of red pepper rose from N5,500 to N8,000/basket.
There was equally an increase in the prices of items used for seasoning and garnishing food during the festive season, such as onions, reported to have increased from between N17, 000 and N21,000/bag to N28, 000 and N35,000.
A medium-sized yam tuber increased from N500 to N700 while smaller sizes increased from N200 to N400.
The report also noted a rise in prices of vegetable oil, turkey and rice.
The hike in transportation costs also affected exporters who found it challenging and very expensive to procure produce from the rural hinterland.
The Secretary General of the Cashew Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sotonye Anga, confirmed this to our correspondent on the telephone.
He said that farmers who brought produce from the villages complained of high fares and had to increase the prices of the produce.
Importers said moving cargoes from Lagos to various locations in the country was also an uphill task as transportation costs had become unbearably high.
The Chairman, International Freight Forwarders Association, PTML Chapter, Mr. Sunny Nnebe, said apart from the fact that transporters had increased the cost of carrying a 20-feet container from N70,000 to N200,000 owing to the gridlock at the Apapa ports, in the past few days, there had been additional increase in the costs of transporting cargoes to various locations in the country.
Travellers bound for the East reportedly spent N18,000 on transportation from Lagos to Cross River State while a bus trip to Owerri and other eastern cities ranged from N12,000 to N15,000.