Some Nigerians have appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the rising prices of goods and services due to the steady depreciation of the naira.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday.
They expressed their views against the backdrop of steady depreciation of naira exchange rate at the black market.
While the naira has remained stable against the dollar at the official rate at N197.50 to the dollar, it is currently between N310 and N320 to the dollar at the black market.
The Chairman of Kantin Kwari Market Traders Association in Kaduna, Alhaji Liti Kulkul, advised the Federal Government to introduce some controls in the foreign exchange market.
He said the measure became necessary in order to save the naira from further depreciation.
Liti said that the fluctuations in the exchange rate had negatively affected businesses in the state as traders and customers had to contend with the instability.
“The only alternative to this problem is for the government to intervene by coming up with price control on the exchange rate.
“Price control is the only way out otherwise the masses or customers will continue to be at the receiving end due to lack of stability in exchange rate”, he said.
Liti also called on the government to take stringent measures against operators of bureau de change who are in the habit of buying and hoarding the dollar in order to maximize profit.
“Those who engage in such illegal activity are economic saboteurs and should not be allowed to continue with such business,” he said.
Another trader at the market, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed, said the fluctuations in the exchange rate would continue to affect prices of goods and services until the situation stabilised.
“Last month the exchange rate reached between N380 and N400.
“But as at today, the dollar is being sold at between N305 and N320,” he said.
“As long as the ugly trend contnues, the telling effect will be on the ordinary customer.
“When people purchase the dollar at exorbitant rate, ordinary customer will be at the receiving end.
“So, even if traders go back and buy the dollar at lower rate, they will not reduce their prices because it has been the practice in the country,” he said.
Traders in Kaduna are lamenting over the exchange rate depreciation, saying it has affected goods and services in the state.
Mallam Nasir Mohammed, a trader, said the effect of the fluctuation in foreign exchange rates on prices of goods and Services has been a negative one.
“There is high rate of inflation on both locally produced goods and imported ones,” he said.
Usman Mamalo, a trader, also said effect of the exchange rate has caused prices of goods to increase by 50 per cent.
“The increase has even affected local pure water which we sell for 10 naira per sachet now,” he said.
Jibrin Mako, also a trader, said the increase in prices should not affect all goods in the market because not every Nigerian was buying dollar.
” I am surprised at the prices of goods in the market when not every Nigeria buy dollar.
” A bag of rice that is sold for 9,500 is now 12,500 and above pending on the bag,” he said.
An economist in Kaduna Timothy Musa said that whenever there were fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, various economic activities were usually affected such as purchasing power, export earnings, government revenue,external reserve, among others.
“This instability and continued depreciation of naira in the foreign exchange market has resulted in decline in the standard of living of the populace, increased cost of production which also lead to cost push inflation.
” It has also tended to undermine the international competitiveness of non-oil exports and make planning and projection difficult at both micro and macro levels of the economy.
Mrs Martha Briggs is a 35 year civil servant in Port Harcourt and mother of four children.
Briggs told NAN in Port Harcourt that prices of goods in the market had risen since December 2015.
“ Prices of some food items such as rice, beans, vegetable oil, crayfish, fresh and tin tomatoes have risen and this is is affecting households.
“ For instance, a bag of rice that I bought for N10,000 in December 2015 is now sold for N15,000,” she said.
Briggs said the retailer of rice attributed the rise to the fluctuation of the naira against the dollar in the market.
Also, Mrs Thelma Umoh, a 40-year old businesswoman and mother of five children, expressed the same experience with prices of goods and services.
“ Prices of goods and some services have increased. I travelled by air to Lagos and the cost of one way trip was more than what I paid last year,” she said.
Umoh said in the market situation appeared to be chaotic and unstable.
“ Prices of food items change daily and traders say it is caused by fluctuation of the naira to the dollar.
“ I am not interested in that fluctuation because some households and indeed, families, are finding it difficult to feed,” she said.
“ I appeal to the Federal Government to urgently intervene and stop the fluctuation of the naira against the dollar,” she said. (NAN)