A cross-section of residents of Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia, has expressed concern over the sharp increase in the price of food stuffs ahead of the Christmas celenration.
Speaking in separate interviews with newsmen in Aba on Monday, the people said that the development had brought untold hardship to them.
Mrs Ngozi Samuel, a fruit and vegetables seller, said the price of cabbage and carrot increased by 50 per cent in December.
“Before now, a bag of cabbage sold for between N5,000 and N6,000 but now a bag goes for between N13,000 and N15,000,” Samuel said.
She said that the price of carrot and other fruits also recorded similar percentage increase in the last few weeks.
Also, Mrs Chizoba Anyanwu, a tomato seller, said that the price of tomato had also skyrocketed ahead of the Yuletide.
Anyanwu said that a bag of the commodity went up from N5,000 in November to between N14, 200 and N15,000 in December.
She said that the increase in price was as a result of the Yuletide, adding that the commodity was supposed to be abundant in the market at this time of the year.
“The increase in the price of tomato is uncalled for. Tomato is supposed to be cheap now because it is usually available in abundance this period,” she said.
She said that, on the contrary, the price of pepper went down from N15,000 in November to N6, 000.
An onions seller, Mrs Eucharia Nwachukwu, also said that the commodity recorded a sharp price increase ahead of the Christmas celebration.
Nwachukwu said that the price of a bag of onions went up from about N20,000 in November to between N40,000 and N43,000 in December.
Mr Aloysius Chikwe, a stock fish dealer, said the price of the commodity recently went up by more than 30 per cent.
“The price of the commodity had been on the increase since the year began but skyrocketed about three months ago by about 30 per cent.
“It further went up a little pas Christmas approached,” Chikwe said, pointing out that the price increase had brought about low sales.
He said, “The situation has become a problem for us because sales have been very low this season unlike other Christmas seasons.
“Stock-fish is no longer affordable to the poor,” he said.
The residents appealed to government to take urgent steps to address the unwholesome development.
They charged the government to reduce the taxes and import duty imposed on consumables in order to make them affordable to the masses.
“Government should initiate policies to ensure that middlemen do not exploit the masses during the Yuletide by inflating the price of goods,” they said.