The economy may grind to a halt unless the rising inflation is curtailed, manufacturers and other categories of business owners have expressed concern.

The situation is compounded by the steep rise in prices of staple food and building materials in the last three months, investigation has shown.

For the Organised Private Sector (OPS), the inflation rate is also impacting the cost of production input.

In other sectors of the economy, such as medicare and fast moving consumables, many manufacturers have been constrained to hike prices.

Those who retain their prices, have cut their products’ sizes to ensure that without a raise in price, they could stay afloat in the face of galloping inflation.

Many manufacturing firms are also slashing production due to their inability to procure foreign exchange for raw materials. They are also being pummelled by the rising cost of energy, transportation and machinery due to the devaluation of the naira.

A senior official of a confectionery company said the firm had been struggling to remain afloat due to the  consistent rise in prices.

Sources close to the Association of Land and Estate Owners (ALEO), said prices of building materials have risen astronomically. In January, the price of 30 tonnes of granite was N135,000. The same measure of sharp sand was sold for N55,000 and one tonne of iron rods went for N305,000. However, granite is selling at N210,000 per 30 tonnes, sharp sand N85,000 per 30 tonnes, and Iron rods N405,000 for one tonne.

Many middle class Nigerians and those in the lower class now lack the capacity to live a decent life.

The rapid drop in purchasing power is not limited to individuals as corporate organisations are experiencing erosion in capacity to increase productivity because of inflation.

However, a fortnight ago, Group Executive Director Dangote Industries Limited” Edwin Devakumar, said Dangote Cement had not increased the price of cement in the past 16 months, despite the continuous rise in the cost of production and surge in demand for cement.

Though most of the distributors and marketers of cement products are taking advantage of the increase in demand, which created artificial scarcity in the market, to hike retail price, Devakumar said Dangote Cement had consistently maintained same ex-factory price for its products.

Many concerned Nigerians, among them civil servants, are worried about their inability to make ends meet, shared their experiences.

“We are extremely concerned that virtually every food item from the basic staple foods of garri, rice, beans and milk are gradually slipping out of reach of the ordinary Nigerian, except the very few rich ones perhaps,” a middle level civil servant, lamented.

He added: “We have in the past resorted to rationing our basic foodstuff so it can last the period, but we’ve now reached our wits’ end as my take home can no longer buy the same quantity of foodstuff.

Another government employee said: ”Even with my modest family of five, my wife and I inclusive, it’s becoming very difficult to breakeven, I’m skipping meals to work it out, but I’ve just discovered that I’m killing myself gradually.” What is the government doing? he queried, saying “unless something happens urgently, I’m afraid this country is in serious danger of an implosion.”

 

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