Little joy as high prices put the brakes on Christmas in Nigeria

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LAGOS, December 23 (Reuters) – In a crowded market in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Blessing Abah, 27, negotiates the price of a turkey and other food as she does her Christmas shopping, which she says now cost more than ever before.

She paid 2,500 naira for the turkey, up 25% from two months ago, while the 10 tomatoes she got for 200 naira are now reduced to seven, a reminder that prices in the Africa’s largest economy continue to grow strongly even though inflation has eased.

In many parts of Nigeria, Christmas is an opportunity to feast with family and friends while exchanging gifts. But Abah said there was little to share with neighbors this year.

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“Things are very difficult, the food is very expensive, the source of income is not the same, so giving this time around will be really difficult,” said Abah.

Nigeria emerged from recession last year, but growth is fragile and the International Monetary Fund has said the recovery will be “moderate” as the West African country grapples with low inflation. double digits, a dollar shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s crash in the price of oil, which accounts for over 90% of its foreign exchange, led to severe currency shortages and put pressure on the naira currency.

Dollar shortages mean traders like Felix Okafor, who runs an electronics store in the Computer Village area of ​​Lagos, are forced to buy currencies on the black market at a higher price to pay for the goods than they do. it sells and pass the cost on to consumers.

“You know, it’s the end of the year when people are buying new electronics and gadgets as gifts for their friends and relatives, but sales this year have been very low,” Okafor said.

Abah’s friend Owuza Sheidi, who is a tailor, has doubled the price of some of her clothes over the past two years to keep up with rising costs for fabrics and sewing tools.

It aspires to price and exchange rate stability.

The same goes for Afis Adewale, another tailor, who is cutting fabric for a new outfit at a roadside boutique in the Ikeja district of Lagos.

“This time of year, I normally sleep in my store to meet my customers’ deadlines,” he said. “But this year I only have a few clothes to sew.”

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Additional reporting by Fikayo Owoeye, written by MacDonald Dzirutwe; edited by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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