Families and workers devise survival strategies amid rising prices

Many households in the country are coming up with new strategies to survive the difficult times occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol and rising inflation, which peaked at an 18-year high of 22.41 per cent in May amidst weakening purchasing power.

Some of the strategies include cutting down significantly on luxury items; many households coming together to buy foodstuffs in bulk, some making their purchases from rural areas, where they are relatively cheaper; cutting down on energy consumption; and looking for different means to supplement family income, among others.

President Bola Tinubu had on Monday, May 29, 2023, announced shortly after his inauguration that the era of subsidising petrol consumption was gone. This was immediately followed by marketers increasing the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to N500 per litre from around N185.

The increase in the pump price of the commodity led to sharp rises in transport fares and the prices of most commodities and services.

The removal of subsidy and the attendant escalating prices forced the organised labour to issue a strike notice, but after a series of meetings with officials of the Federal Government, the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress announced the suspension of the strike to allow for the government to come up with appropriate palliatives to cushion the effects, including wage increase for workers.

Negotiations between the government and organised labour on the development continue next week.

Some residents of the Lekki area of Lagos State lamented the surge in the cost of living in the country and pointed out that the areas most affected were transportation and feeding.

They have also adopted diverse coping mechanisms with the new reality in the country.

Emmanuel Adetunji, a businessman, told Saturday PUNCH that his wife was now buying foodstuffs in bulk from the Mile 12 Market, as it was more expensive to buy such from the Island.

He said, “We no longer buy food items on the Island. My wife sends someone to Mile 12 monthly to buy food items for the house. It is more economical for us.

“Also, in terms of power, we switch to the inverter during the day, whether or not there’s light, and turn off the prepaid meter and avoid the use of the generator. We only use the generator if it is inevitable or the inverter batteries are running low.”

Adetunji said he was considering selling his two-horse-power air conditioners and replacing them with 1HP in order to burn less fuel.

“We no longer switch on air conditioners during the day; I got rechargeable fans for every room,” he added.

For Dupe Gbolahan, her family has since switched to renewable energy and replaced the generator with solar panels.

She said with solar panels and inverters, her family had been able to cope better since the fuel subsidy removal.

Gbolahan stated, “At least, we know that it is only the cars we are fuelling and my work is remote, so I only go out when necessary.

“We were lucky to get our solar panels late last year, when the price was still fair. Now, I learnt that the prices have increased because more people are rushing to get them since the subsidy removal.

“We have a big generator but we hardly use it; instead, we use our solar panels and an inverter. That has been our saving grace.”

When one of our correspondents contacted a company that sells inverters and solar panels in Lagos, a representative who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed that since subsidy was removed on petrol, the demand for solar panels and batteries had increased.

He said, “The demand for solar panels increased during the fuel scarcity, but since the subsidy removal it has doubled.

“Renewable energy is the new trend with the state of things in the country. It is the only way people can cope now.”