Mr Ken Ukaoha, President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTs), has cautioned members of the group to refrain from unnecessary price increase in commodities in view of the minimum wage increase.
Ukaoha made the call in Abuja on Monday at a workshop organised for NANTs leadership on tracking the commitment of political actors to the Farmers’ Manifesto and Traders’ Charter of Demand.
“Thinking of increasing the price of goods is unnecessary, immoral, undependable, unjustifiable and perhaps wicked. Therefore, every trader must avoid the temptation of being hired into such a selfish act as a means of enrichment.
“Every trader must realise that hiking prices on one commodity automatically raise prices of other ones and no trader deals on all items of need,” he said.
He said that once a trader raised the price of a commodity, sellers of other commodities would also jack up in the same manner.
According to him, such a negative cycle will only be multiplying poverty to everyone and dealing a dirty blow on the overall economy which has further implications for everyone.
Ukaoha also called on the Federal Government to find a solution to the worsening security situation in the country.
“Due to the security situation in the country, traders are refraining from travelling to most parts of the northern part of the country for fear of being kidnapped or killed.
“Life is speedily becoming worthless. The economy, especially in the north, is speedily losing grip, farmers are dislodged from their farms courtesy of insurgency and crises with herders, and productivity is grossly reducing,” Ukaoha said.
He said the traders were getting scared of moving the few goods available towards the required market destinations.
Ukaoha said that the workshop would be used to train members on tracking the commitment of political actors to the charter of demand.
“For the next four years, we shall be monitoring and tracking the performance of our elected representatives at the various levels of governance to ensure that the promises they made with the signature of endorsement to our document are kept.
“We must understand how to follow up with programmes and initiatives of government targeted, especially at the poor traders and farmers.
“We will focus on access to credit and inputs for small scale farmers.
“Others are `traderMoni’ under the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme and associated facilities meant to reposition and handhold our constituencies out of poverty,” he said.
Ukaoha said that before the 2019 elections, the association thought of productive ways of holding politicians accountable to their promises which had for long remained empty.
He said the association had always been short-changed by political parties and their members, who had always taken advantage of the low level of the consciousness.
Ukaoha said that the farmers’ document advocated that 60 per cent of agriculture investment in budgets be dedicated to small scale farmers to help tackle food security in the country.
He said that the document was articulated to ensure that agricultural policies were effectively targeted toward small scale farmers.
Ukaoha explained that different governments had talked about agriculture but not enough fund was allocated to the sector.
According to him, the document calls for the revitalisation of the agriculture extension service in order for the extension workers to help farmers increase their yield.
He said that the traders’ charter demands an investigation on the illegal seizure of traders’ goods and immediate design of the Nigerian Trade Policy
Other demands, he said, were: training and enlightenment for traders, harmonisation of taxes and charges in the markets, policy inclusion at all levels, transparency in the disbursement of Small and Medium Enterprises loans and other funds.
Ukaoha said that the document also demands transparency in the allocation of shops in markets, among others.
He said that the association requested that its members be integrated into the membership of the board of over 60 various trade and agriculture-related agencies and parastatals.
Mr Innocent Azih from the Centre for Agriculture and Climate Change, Lagos, said during the presentation on tracking implementation of policy commitment to farmers’ manifesto that the tracking indicators would be on farm productivity.
Azih said that the expectation would be on the rise of farmers output, access to extension services and increase input use on farmers.
According to him, the outcome will be monitored annually.
“The members must have all the facts to enable them to track the politicians’ commitment,” Azih said.