Nigerians Speak as Kano Traders Reduces Prices of Food Items

Jumoke Olasunkanmi

 Traders in Kano State on Monday announced a plan to lower the costs of essential commodities, particularly food items in a concerted effort to provide relief to consumers grappling with the harsh realities of surging food prices.

 According to the chairman of the marketers, Ibrahim Danyaro, the decision is spurred by recent actions of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission, which seized 10 warehouses hoarding a plethora of food items.

 The commission’s chairman, Muhyi Magaji said that the practice of stockpiling essential goods contributes to the soaring food inflation and food insecurity in the country noting that there is an urgent need for intervention to safeguard consumer interests.

 Danyaro emphasized that the decision to offer goods at more affordable rates stemmed from a deep-seated recognition of the public outcry over escalating prices and the overarching economic strains facing the nation.

“The traders are currently offering their goods in the market at a lower price compared to the prices set by the company,” affirmed Danyaro. He also added that the commission will penalize traders who are hoarding food items for the purpose of inflating the price.

Meanwhile, on the national front, the Federal Government on Tuesday announced plans to set up a commodity board tasked with regulating food prices across the country.

 Vice President Kashim Shettina outlined the board’s mandate, which includes assessing and regulating food prices while maintaining strategic reserves to stabilize the costs of crucial grains and other food items.

Amidst these developments, the resolve of Kano’s traders to voluntarily reduce prices signals a glimmer of hope for residents burdened by exorbitant costs of living however, diverse opinions have emerged regarding the efficacy and feasibility of government intervention in price regulation.

 Aisha Rufai, a retired civil servant, expressed cautious optimism about the short-term relief the government’s measures may provide, while also voicing concerns about their long-term sustainability.

“If the sellers want to sell below cost price, it is a good thing because the price of foodstuff has gotten so high that many people cannot afford even two square meals,” remarked Rufai, acknowledging the immediate necessity for affordability.

“I don’t know how long they can keep it up though because they also need to make a profit, nobody wants to do business and run at a loss but for now prices should come down a bit while the government think of a lasting solution.”

She however expressed doubt over the government’s plan to regulate prices saying it may push many out of business.

“The government does not have the power to tell people how much they can sell their market,” said Rufai. “If they start forcing people to sell at a particular price, some traders might as well stop selling if the profit margin is not enough for them so instead of setting a price, they [federal government] should think of other ways to address the problem.”

Conversely, Olalekan Sunkanmi criticized the government’s approach, asserting that mere price reduction fails to address the underlying causes of food inflation. “Traders slashing price is not the solution to food inflation; it is addressing symptoms without looking at the cause,” he emphasized, advocating for comprehensive measures to tackle systemic issues.

“Again, this administration is showing how clueless it is. What will happen after the traders sell out? Will they get more items to sell at a lesser rate forever? The government needs to stop treating symptoms and get to the root cause of the inflation.

“Do something about the insecurity that is stopping farmers from going to farms, for example, give seeds and grants to farmers to encourage large-scale farming. “Even the committee to regulate food price is not a realistic objective.”

In contrast, Omolayo Ibrahim expressed optimism about the potential impact of traders’ voluntary price reductions, echoing the sentiment that any initiative aimed at alleviating the burden of food prices deserves support.

“For me, anything that will bring down the price of food items is a good thing, I don’t know how the traders want to do it but it is a good idea, I hope that traders across the country start to follow suit so we can all enjoy the new price.”

As the nation grapples with the multifaceted challenges of food security and economic stability, the concerted efforts of both traders and governmental bodies underscore a collective determination to mitigate the adverse effects of inflation and ensure access to affordable essentials for all citizens.

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