The basic food items needed to survive for an average Nigerian family cost N48,130 in January 2023, 60.4 percent more than the country’s monthly net minimum wage of N30,000, according to a new report from an international platform of electronic commerce.
The basic foods that the report puts in the basket are milk, bread, rice, eggs, cheese, beef, fruits and vegetables. According to the report, the price of 10 liters of milk was N12,960 in January, 10 loaves of bread cost N5,390, 1.5 kg of rice cost N1,670, 20 pieces of eggs cost N1,400 and 1 kg of cheese was N1,840. Others are 6 kg of beef priced at N12,310, six kg of fruits (N5,520), while 8 kg of vegetables cost N7,040.
BusinessDay’s analysis of the report shows that 60.4 percent is the highest in five years compared to the same period in 2022, which was 36.6 percent; 17.7 percent in 2021, 8.1 percent in 2020, and 5.1 percent in the same period in 2019.
Further analysis of the 2023 minimum wage report by Picodi.com, an international e-commerce platform, shows that the amount in January this year increased 52.6 percent from N31,536 in 2019.
“This means that the wages of the least paid rose more slowly than food prices and the minimum wage is not enough to cover even a basic basket of products,” he said.
By comparison, the report said that in Asia-Pacific countries such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, basic foodstuffs cost more than half the minimum income.
“The basket consists of eight groups of food products such as bread, milk, eggs, rice, cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables. The list is very limited, but those products in the amounts given are sufficient to meet the minimum nutrient requirement for an average adult,” the report says.
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In addition, it revealed that Nigeria ranked last out of 67 countries in its best ever staple food price index.
“Nigeria is in the last place (67) in the ranking, with a ratio of 160.4 percent, being surpassed by countries such as South Africa (35.6 percent, position 50), the United States (12.5 percent, position 11) and the United States. Kingdom (6.5 percent, first place).
“Only in seven of the 67 countries included in our ranking, the minimum wage did not increase compared to January 2022. Among others, these countries are Israel, Hong Kong and Nigeria,” he added.
Inflation in Africa’s largest economy rose to a 17-year high last year due to the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows the country’s inflation rate rose to 21.34 percent in December 2022, the highest in 17 years from 21.47 percent the previous month.
Food inflation, which makes up 50 percent of the inflation rate, rose from 24.13 percent to 23.75 percent in December.
“Nigeria’s accelerating inflation growth has eroded the N30,000 minimum wage by 55 percent and widened the poverty net to an estimated five million people by 2022,” the World Bank said in its latest report. Nigeria Development Update.
He said higher inflation in 2022 is estimated to have pushed another five million Nigerians into poverty between January and September 2022, mainly through higher prices for local staples: rice, bread, yams and wheat, especially in non-rural areas.
“Between 2020 and 2022, for example, the shock of inflation has pushed some 15 million Nigerians into poverty.”
The World Bank report highlighted that the minimum wage, which was $82 in 2019, had been reduced to $26.
Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank’s country director for Nigeria, said that over the years, the country that has been floating and taking advantage of the oil price movement, now finds itself at a critical junction.
“Nigeria has the option to implement critical macroeconomic and structural reforms that can reduce vulnerabilities to the crisis and increase growth. Doing so will increase per capita income, sustainably reduce poverty and deliver better life outcomes for many Nigerians,” he said.