Traders at the Building materials at Kenyatta Building Materials Market Enugu 1, have said that price goods, particularly cement is never stable in the market in line with fluctuations in the foreign exchange market and volume of demands at any point in time.

They told Sunday Telegraph that they are currently witnessing lull in business. They said that there was a time Dangote and Unicem cements sold for N2500 as against the current price of N1, 450.

According to them, Bua cement is the most expansive in the market because it is imported while Unicem and Dangote are made in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the traders said that foreign rice is recording some increase in price, while the price of local rice has slightly decreased within the past months. A bag of foreign rice which used to sell at N16000, N16500 (depending on quality) is now being sold at N17500, N17800 while a bag of local rice which used to sell at N5800, N6000 for 1Bushel now sells for N5000, N4800.

Mr. Akachukwu a rice dealer, said that the reason is, “for foreign rice the border has been closed against importation of rice, therefore traders tend to smuggle this rice into the country and when they do the settlement rate for smuggling in the rice affects the rate at which they sell.”

Akachukwu went further to state that the cost of transportation has also has really increased as the drivers who fear the risk involved in conveying smuggled goods tend to charge the traders very high for possible settlement of authorities at check points. But in the case of the case of local rice, he said this season of harvest has caused a decline in its price.

For beans there has been a slight decrease from what it used to be. One of the traders, who refused to give his name, said that there was a little decrease in beans because “even though this is not time for beans, there is excess storage of beans so we traders are trying to sell off the old stock so we can bring in new ones”. He went ahead to say that even at the reduction of 1000 or 2000 from beans, it still remains expensive as one bag of white beans costs between N38,000-N40,000 and brown beans costs N48,000- N50,000. “we only try to reduce the amount a little in order to sell off the stock we have”.

On the other hand the prices of garri and palm oil seem to have nosedived; the sellers said that the reason for this change is because of massive production of cassava by farmers from last year 2017 to this year.

The story seems different for palm oil sellers as it seems the decrease in the prices of palm oil is not a positive one. The traders at Ogbete Main Market, expressed discontent that the prices of palm. oil has continued to fall as there was not much money in circulation.

Mrs. Onyema one of the oil dealers said business has being poor as palm oil which used to sell for N15000 now sells for N10000 or N9500 because of lack of money circulation.

“Market is not good at all, everybody is complaining of money as you can see no customers here normally we used to have enough customers but since resumption of school and the drawing closer of elections all the money has ceased. Civil servants keep complaining about paying school fees or government ceasing their money.

“So we have to reduce the price inorder to sell. Formally we wholesalers don’t sell in bits but now we do in order to make up for our sales,” she said.

A cross section of the traders complained bitterly that market has been tough since money flow ceased and there has been an increase in the prices of some foodstuffs. That people no longer patronize them like they used to, and that the rainy season isn’t helping matters at all as the rains sometimes deter people from coming to the market. Ends

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