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Eight tips to cope amid rising food prices

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The skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs have become a pressing concern for many, if not all households in Nigeria.

The continuous rise in the cost of living, particularly food prices, has placed a significant strain on household finances, budgets, and access to affordable and nutritious meals.

However, amidst these challenges, there are practical tips to help overcome financial hurdles and still get healthy food options.

Plan ahead
Planning and budgeting is a smart way to save both time and money.

Creating a budget specifically for foodstuffs is essential in managing food expenses. You can allocate funds based on income and expenses and also prioritise certain food items to avoid overspending.

You can also make a meal plan. Making a weekly or monthly meal plan will help you ensure that you only buy food products you will be needing which will help control costs and reduce food waste.

Do not forget to compare prices. Comparing prices across different stores allows you to find the best deals on food items.

Buy in bulk
In this current economy, the idea of buying food items in bulk may seem daunting due to the cost involved.

However, purchasing non-perishable food items in bulk can save you money in the long run as you get a discount during bulk buying.

Also, remember today’s price is not tomorrow’s price, so bulk buying potentially saves you from higher prices in the future.

Be sure to steer clear of buying perishable foods in bulk to avoid food waste.

Find substitutes
In this economy, finding ways to reduce the costs of food items is essential.

One strategy is to explore alternative protein sources that are more budget-friendly than traditional options such as meat, fish, and poultry.

Plant-based proteins like tofu are excellent alternatives that not only offer significant cost savings but also higher nutritional benefits.

Eat in season
When trying to save money on foodstuffs, it is best to buy products that are in-season, or grown during that time of year in your location.

Fruits, vegetables, and food items that are in season are the freshest and the most budget-friendly during that particular time of year.

In-season food items will always cost less than those that are out of season so you should always take advantage of it.

Cook at home
Making homemade dishes instead of dining out is a cost-effective way to enjoy nutritious meals while saving money.

However, if your schedule does not give you the chance to always cook at home you can consider batch cooking. You can prepare meals in batches and freeze portions for later use, so this will make homemade meals more convenient, and accessible and give eating out no chance.

While cooking at home, you can opt for simple and budget-friendly recipes that use affordable ingredients and will help minimize food costs and reduce reliance on expensive prepared foods.

Grow your own
This is the perfect time to make use of your backyard or available land as growing your food is one easy way to save some money.

Starting a small vegetable garden at your home will provide you with access to fresh produce at a fraction of the cost of store-bought fruits and vegetables.

Gardening can even become a fun and rewarding activity your family can enjoy.

Buy locally
Another great way to overcome high food prices is by buying locally from the farmers’ market.

Shopping at the farmers’ market helps you get in-season produce at a great price. Farmers’ market prices have likely not increased as much as other stores’ prices because there are little or no transportation costs.

So check your location for a farmers’ market to reduce costs.

Practice proper food storage
Aside from buying in bulk, eating in, and growing your food, how are you storing your food?

The way you store your food is also essential when trying to cut down the cost spent on food.

So make sure to store your food properly to extend its shelf life, make your meals last longer to reduce food waste, and shrink your shopping bill.

If you don’t know how well to store your various food items, you should take your time to read up on them to avoid food wastage.

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Georgieva re-elected as IMF managing director

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The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Kristalina Georgieva has been re-elected to serve as the lender’s managing director (MD) for a second term of five years.

In a statement on Friday, the board said Georgieva’s second tenure would begin on October 1, 2024.

The IMF had, on April 4, announced Georgieva as the sole candidate nominated for the position.

The board, coordinated by Afonso Bevilaqua and Abdullah BinZarah, said its decision on her reappointment was taken by consensus.

According to the statement, the board held several discussions with Georgieva, in line with the selection process it established on March 13, before making its decision.

“In taking this decision, the Board commended Ms. Georgieva’s strong and agile leadership during her term, navigating a series of major global shocks,” the statement reads.

“Ms. Georgieva led the IMF’s unprecedented response to these shocks, including the approval of more than $360 billion in new financing since the start of the pandemic for 97 countries, debt service relief to the Fund’s poorest, most vulnerable members, and a historic Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocation equivalent to $650 billion.

“Under her leadership, the Fund introduced innovative new financing facilities, including the Resilience and Sustainability Facility and the Food Shock Window.

“It replenished the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, with the capacity to mobilize concessional loans to its poorest members, and co-created the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable.

“It also secured a 50 percent quota increase to bolster the Fund’s permanent resources and agreed to add a third Sub-Saharan African chair to the IMF Board.

“Looking ahead, the Board welcomes Ms. Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of macroeconomic and financial stability, while also ensuring that the Fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire membership.”

The board also acknowledged Georgieva’s focus on strengthening the IMF’s support to its members through effective policy advice, capacity development and financing and pledged to continue to work closely with the managing director.

Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist, has been leading the Bretton Wood organisation since October 1, 2019, when she took over from Christine Lagarde.

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Naira strengthens in parallel market, trades at N1,150/$

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Naira appreciates to N1,419/$ at official market

The naira, on Friday, appreciated to N1,150 per dollar at the parallel section of the foreign exchange (FX) market.

Currency traders in Lagos, also known as bureau de change (BDCs) operators, quoted the buying rate of the greenback at N1,110 and the selling price at N1,150 — leaving a profit margin of N40.

The naira appreciated by 0.86 percent from the N1,160 recorded on April 11.

“The dollar is falling and it is not my fault. It is how the FX market is now,” Lawal, a BDC operator, said.

Also, FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, said the naira rose by 7.16 percent or N88.23 to N1,142.38/$ on Friday — from N1,230.61/$ on Monday.

The appreciation of the naira is coming a few days after the CBN opened the third tranche of sales to BDC operations.

The apex bank began the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators at the rate of N1,101/$ on April 8.

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Electricity tariff will reduce if FX rate drops below N1,000, says Adelabu

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Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power, says the electricity tariff will reduce if the foreign exchange (FX) rate drops below N1,000.

On April 3, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

The regulator had said customers under this category receive over 20 hours of electricity supply daily, and will now pay N225 per kilowatt (kW) from April 3 — up from N66.

Criticising the policy, stakeholders had described the increase as “ill-timed” considering the harsh economic reality in Nigeria.

However, on April 5, Adelabu said the tariff hike only affects 1.5 million customers — out of 12 million.

Speaking on Channels television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday, the minister said by cutting the inefficiencies of some operators in the sector, coupled with the gains by the naira against the dollar, the tariff paid by Nigerians should change positively.

“The tariff is flexible and I can tell you that even if naira gains more and the exchange rate comes down below N1,000, it must positively affect the tariff and the tariff even for the Band A will come down below the N225 kilowatt per hour that we are currently charging,” he said.

“There are variable factors that go into the complication of the tariff and we are not closing our eyes to this.

“We are transparent. We are publishing it and we are talking to Nigerians, the consumers and all the power sector stakeholders.

“This administration is very serious and we are committed to transforming the sector.”

Adelabu also said the government is working tirelessly to ramp up power generation from about 4,000 megawatts to 6,000 megawatts in the next six months — “for the first time in the country’s history”.

He said 25 percent of Nigeria’s power generation is from hydropower while the remaining 75 percent is from gas plants.

On the Siemens project, Adelabu said the pilot phase is being concluded, which involves the importation of 10 power transformers and 10 mobile substations.

According to the minister, five of the transformers have been installed and commissioned at various locations across the country; while three of the mobile substations have been installed and are ready to be commissioned within the next two weeks.

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