The cost of living in Nigeria has gone up since the steep decline of the Naira against the dollar. Paying for food, clothes, transport and other basic needs isn’t a walk in the park compared to 10 years ago. Even local content publishers like Guardian Nigeria have come out to admit that it’s a hard knock life.

According to Vanguard Nigeria, a bag of lower grades of rice which sold for N9,000 in December 2015 now sells for N13,000. A carton of turkey which sold for N7,000 in December 2015 now sells for N10,000, while one kilogram which previously sold for N750 is now going for N1,100.

Commuting in Lagos state isn’t any different as fares to most locations has increased by N50 to N100.

According to loan and insurance comparison site TopCheck, there has been a significant increase in personal loan requests since late June of this year after the Naira was devalued by Central Bank of Nigeria as a result of the crash in global oil prices.

TopCheck co-founder Christian Wiesner notes that people are searching for extra means to finance their daily activities. “Our clients tell us that they cannot afford to maintain their lifestyles as prices of imported goods have exploded, even more than the change in exchange rate”, Wiesner commented.

“During the two months before the devaluation, when black market rates spiked, we already experienced an increase in loan search volumes by roughly 10%, but since the devaluation the situation changed dramatically. We now see an increase in demand for Loans by an astonishing 29% daily.”

The increase in fuel price by the government from N87 to N145 has led to inflation, meaning that most local commodities and imported goods are now more expensive.

“People are currently looking for money in order to finance their daily activities. On TopCheck, we're seeing a lot of demand for Loans for paying rent, starting their own business or paying medical bills. Unfortunately, the financial institutions we partner with - banks and microfinance institutions - demand proof of a steady income in order to get a loan, so many requests cannot be fulfilled,” says Wiesner.

According Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information and Culture, the government is making sacrifices and efforts to alleviate the burden of Nigerians through different means.

Lai Mohammed
Alhaji Lai Mohammed

“This government is making a lot of sacrifices and it is also expecting a lot of sacrifices from the people. The N500 billion Social Intervention Programme which is broken into five parts covers employment of 500,000 unemployed graduates who will be trained as teachers. It also covers the employment of 100,000 artisans as well as the One-Meal-A-Day programme for pupils in primary schools. The Enterprise Scheme which is targeted at one million market men and women, 460,000 artisans and 200,000 agriculture workers is also covered in the programme. It also covers the N5,000 monthly conditional cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable,” he said.

Also, there’s news that the Nigerian government is partnering with China’s One Belt-One Road Initiative delegation to build 30 million low-cost houses.

Let’s hope that the rent there is affordable.

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