The Akwa Ibom State government has issued an order to all the traders in the state to immediately reduce the cost of foodstuff in the market within 31 days. The ordered was issued to the traders in a letter released by the Special Assistant to the state governor Udom Emmanuel on Traders’ Matters, Idoronyin Rapheal.
The state government threatened to dissolve the leadership of any union that does not comply with the order within 31 days. In a radio programme recently, Idorenyin accused the traders of taking advantage of the scarcity of FOREX to inflate foodstuff prices.
He also alleged that the market union leaders were to some extent responsible for the hike in food prices.
“Garri is selling between N30,000 and N22,000 per bag in the state, but if you go outside Akwa Ibom garri it is sold between N18, 000 and N17, 000…. The union doesn’t allow people who are not their members to sell garri in bags in the market. If you are not their member and you bring in bags of garri into the market, they will seize them from you. If you look at it, there are no Customs duties on garri, and garri is not purchased with dollars, so it is the union that is causing the price increase. We will not continue to fold our hands and watch them do this. The unions must give traders the free hand to sell their goods. Another example is the crayfish. If you travel to Aba in Abia State, you’ll discover that the crayfish there are cheaper there than in Akwa Ibom, and the traders from Aba are buying from here. It is because of the union”he said