Traders in some parts of Lagos and Ogun states have lamented a drastic change in their profit margins as inflation hits the prices of goods and services, particularly cattle and rams, during the Sallah festive period.
They attributed the hike in prices of rams to the sudden increase in the costs of transporting the livestock down from the northern part of the country to the South.
As excitement over Eid El Kabir celebrations filled the atmosphere as our correspondent observed different markets within Lagos and Ogun states.
Ram sellers, who spoke with The PUNCH at Kara Market in Ogun State on Tuesday, noted the increment in the prices of diesel in the past few months as the chief cause of the reduced patronage.
While some buyers could not afford to pay the amount charged on rams, the traders also lamented that the hike had had a significant reduction in their profit margins.
One of the cattle traders in Kara/ Isheri Market, who identified himself only as Alfa Ola said, “Everybody knows the cause of the rise in prices. The issue of fuel, that is, diesel, caused everything. The cost of transporting these rams from very far places in the North as of January 2021 to December was around N450, 000 to N500, 000 but this year, it has increased to N1.2 million to N1, 350,000. So, the rate of transportation is now three times higher than that of last year.
“The transportation cost is hurting the marketers. The profit we are making now cannot be compared with that of last year. It has really reduced and everybody knows the situation of the country right now. For instance, a situation whereby you’re supposed to sell a ram, on a normal day, for N150, 000 with a profit of either N20,000 or N15,000 but you are now making just N3,000 on it, you know how it feels. Out of the rams we have right now, you will find the ones that go for N500, 000, N700, 000, and even N1m.”
Another ram seller, Olanrewaju Ajula, also lamented that the rise in the prices of rams in the market was also one of the negative impacts of insecurities in the country.
One of the buyers, who did not mention his name, also complained about the prices, saying he did not expect what he met at the market.
A civil servant, Mr Ayinla Olaosebikan, who also came to the market to buy his Sallah ram, expressed sadness over the costs and urged the government to help look into the issue.
He lamented that despite going to the market with a sum of N50,000, the ram given to him was not worth the amount.
“I don’t know why the prices of everything keep increasing every day. We are all in Nigeria when a good ram was sold at N30,000. Why is everything getting hard every year? Imagine, as small as this ram is, I bought it for N50,000. Our money does not have value anymore. When I got here, I was shown different sizes of ram with different prices. The bigger the ram, the higher the price. Our government should help us bring things back to normal,” he said.
A ram seller at Ijaiye market, identified only as Baba Hassan, said the sales had been low with buyers complaining about the huge prices, adding that about 10 different customers angrily left because of the prices they heard.
One of the sellers, Mallam Ibrahim, in his remarks, asserted that the inflation did not affect his profit margins, adding that only the buyers suffered the high prices.
He, however, appealed to Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the problem of fuel scarcity across the country.