It has been observed that price of goods in Calabar has increased astronomically.
Some criticised the present administration for insisting that Nigerians should start patronising locally made goods.
They held the opinion that locally-made goods are more expensive than imported ones. They complained of lack of industries and machines that would produce quality goods.
Speaking about the situation, a businesswoman who deals in foreign furniture and toiletries, Mrs. Margret Adeojo, said the increase in Dollar rate has affected the economy seriously.
She said, “It has affected businesses. The price of goods has increased. Last December when Dollar fluctuated between N286 and N300, an item sold for N22, 000 is what people are buying for N42, 000 now.”
“The door I just sold for N45, 000 now cost N35, 000 last year. That is for China products, but when you want the same products from other sources, you should be looking at the difference of N50, 000.”
“Because of the forex challenge, people are not importing anymore since nobody can predict the economy. Those who have products have refused to sell because they don’t know what will become of the Naira tomorrow.”
“Look at it now Dollar is N375 but as at last week it was N400. It is going up, down and up. That is the problem we are facing and even when it comes down, it still does not affect us positively not until it goes down completely.”
Adeojo, however, commended the federal government for insisting that Nigerians should start patronizing local goods.
“Actually, I think I like what the government is doing but the only thing is the negative effect it is having on the masses. It is so bad that a country like Nigeria where we have wood; we still go out to import toothpick and pencil. It’s funny so if government can provide necessary machines build up industries or encourage investors to come and establish here, it would go a long way to help us. We can also produce and send out to other countries.”
“ Virtually everything we use in this country is imported and it is so bad that it has given the masses a poor perception that if you tell somebody that this thing is locally produced they would not value it but when you say you bought it from the US, they would value it more.
“Look at Aba people, they are gifted. They can always source for raw materials and produce but in a situation where you don’t have machines to produce quality products, you still have to import the quality goods,” she noted.
In the same vein, a petty trader, Miss Rose Okafor, lamented that the increase in price of goods has affected her business.
While blaming it on the increase in dollar rate, she said it shouldn’t have affected locally made items like garri and local rice because “we don’t need dollar to produce these items”.
Okafor also blamed it on lack of manpower and the ability to invest in agricultural sector.
She complained: “We traders are suffering a lot, so also the consumers. I went to the market to buy items that I will sell but I was shocked that prices of the items have tripled. I was able to afford half of what I needed to buy. Even customers are complaining of the sudden increase in prices.”
“I believe that if the dollar rate eventually comes down, the price of goods will automatically fall. And I think government should allow free flow of importation of goods to Nigeria, if that happens, things will go back to normal. If they want us to patronize our local goods, the question is, what quantity can we produce? What is the population of Nigeria compared to what we can produce ourselves? The machines maybe there but we are lacking manpower.
“Nigerians are not willing to go into farming. Look at garri, look at our local rice, will you tell me that dollar is also affecting the production of these items? A bag of local rice that was sold for N4, 000 is now selling for N6, 000 and they tell us about change”.