As the Muslim holy month of Ramdan advances, Blueprint’s Muhammad Tanko Shittu in Jos writes on the observance of the fasting and how increase in prices of commodities affect worshippers.
In Jos and all other localities within Plateau State, just like any other place in the Muslim world, Muslims have been observing Ramadan fast, which is an essential pillar of Islamic faith. This year, there is contrasting atmosphere because as a section of the Muslim community perform the act of worship at ease, some are experiencing difficulties.
At least for the cool conducive weather of the state, with the rain falling almost on daily basis, those observing the fasting say they are finding it very easy. The atmosphere is so conducive that hardly one feel thirsty. At times, some people barely seek for water to drink even after breaking the fast at sunset.
A 19-year-old lady, Rahina Muhammad narrated to Blueprint correspondent in Jos, that she finds the fasting very easy commencing. She starts the fast from 4: 55 am till 6: 55 pm, with less stressed due to the good weather, she said. According to her, she hardly goes for water immediately after breaking her fast.
“I thank Allah that the weather is favourable this year, it has been raining. There is no sun heat and not much stress because you hardly feel thirsty. One easily sees the day coming to an end, with the call to prayer at about 6: 55 pm, terminating the end of the day’s fasting,” she said.
However, on the other hand, inadequate cash flow has been negatively impacting on the lives of the people. Another disturbing trend is the way prices of some commodities got inflated few days from commencement of the fasting period. Food stuffs such as millet, beans, and local rice were mainly the stuffs that have witnessed high rate of inflation within the past two weeks.
Blueprint’s findings revealed that a bag of beans which prior to the beginning of the fasting period was sold at the rate of N18, 000, and a measure was costing N200 is now sold at N22, 000, with a major costing N300. While a bag of millet that was costing N6, 500, and its measure sold at N100 is now costing N8, 500, while its major is now sold at the rates of N150 respectively.
Similarly, the price of local rice has risen with a bag now selling at N13, 000. A measure for such rice costs N230. This brand formerly sale at N11, 000, with its measure costing N180.
A resident of Jos, Alhaji Usman Umar, told our reporter that he do purchase hundreds bags of millet and beans almost every year for distribution to the needy during every fasting period, with the intent of adding the number up this year, but could not for the fact that what he budgeted for it could only purchased lesser number of bags.
“I think some people will not even get what they use to have from the little, that I used to give, due to the hike in prices of most especially beans and millets,” he said.
A trader who deals in both wholesale and retail scale of the business said, “Sales is low because of the high increase in prices. Supply of the commodity is constant; we cannot understand why the inflation in prices, perhaps is due to high demand from people that are in need of the commodity at this fasting time.”
It was observed that sugar, milk, flour and other related products are sold at their normal prices and the demand is higher than prior to the month of Ramadan.
There is also increase in price of orange. A survey reveals that a bag that was sold at the rate of N5,500, naira is now sold at N8,000.
State secretary of the fruit sellers association, Ibrahim Dalhatu, said the increase was as a result of shortage in supply of the product that makes it costly. “Before the fasting commence we sold orange at N5,500, and then there was not too much rain, the supply was constant,” he said.
“But now we sell at N8,000, because of the shortage in supply, and yet despite the increase in price, people are buying it. Some days back we don’t have even a bag in the market,” he added.
However, a slight increase was noticed on the prices of some fruits like banana which is sale at N200 to N300 and watermelon whose piece was sold at N200 to N250. However, no increase on the price of apple as one piece is still sold at N70.
Potatoe is another consumable commodity that is attracting high markets demand, and it also has its own share of increase in price. A bag that was sold at the cost of N3,000 prior to month of Ramadan, is now costing between N4,000 to N4,500.
A wholesale marketer of the product Malam Muhammad Auwal Yusuf, of the Jos Yandoya potatoe market, said the increase in price is mostly generated by the fact that other customers who came from other states to buy and take it out of the state.
“You can see that there are a lot of customers that have come from various states to buy potatoe, some even come from outside Nigeria to buy, you can also see their vans and trucks waiting to convey the potato,” he said.
“So the high demand is actually what is responsible for the increase, potato is like any other perishable, you cannot keep it for a longtime. A bag now costs N4,000 and there is even that of that N4,500 depending on the species, before now you can get it at say N2,500, or N3, 500.”
Some residents who spoke to
Blueprint said the increase in prices of the items is making them to adjust to their scale of spending, according priority to the most basic requirements.
A resident, Lawandi Datti said, “I place priority to those basic items, I reduce spending on some items like eggs, and others.”
Egg is yet, another products that is been patronized in high quantity during the fasting period, with its crate been sold at N650 hitherto, but the case is the contrary now that a crate cost N750.
According to Bala Muhammad, an egg dealer “The increase was as a result of high demand, and you know during raining season the chickens are having drop, in their production of the eggs, because of cool weather.”
Date is also a product that is highly consumed in the fasting time. A survey of the markets indicted a slight increase in it with a major now costing N400 instead of N350.
Malam Abdulhamid is the chairman date sellers at Yantaya market in Jos, he gave the price at which the they sold their products. “We got our product mainly from Niger republic, and this season is the time we make the larger sales. We are now selling a major at N400 before the fating period we sold at tN350 everyday People comes to buy, 6:00 pm is the rushing hours,” he said.
Unlike some other states, in the country whose governments have been putting one measure or the other to alleviate some of the difficulties faced resulting from the inflation in prices of the items, in Plateau state it is a different story.
A source in the government circle confided in Blueprint that the government has not done anything in that regard, but stated that he was aware of the fact that two memos have been initiated for that purpose.
“One of the memos is from a Special Assistant to the Governor, and the other from the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), later the memo from the SA was withdrawn,” he said.
The source further explained that soon something will come up from the Government to support the Muslims before the end of the fasting period.
Filed Under: Islam