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Livestock dealers say crashing naira is killing their business

23 January 2024
Reading time: 3 minutes

The seemingly ever-depreciating naira is making the buying and selling of livestock extremely challenging

The drastic depreciation of the naira has made trade between Nigeria and its neighbours an extremely expensive business.

Traders of livestock say they have been hard hit by the fall in the value of the naira.

And, because they buy most of their livestock from the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, their dealings are conducted using the Central African franc (CFA), which is stronger than naira – ₦1,000 is equal to CFA 1,480. On the black market CFA 1,000 equals ₦1,800.

President Bola Tinubu’s removal of Nigeria’s currency controls in June last year have fuelled the naira’s weakness and added to inflationary pressures.

The president had hoped to get transactions flowing through the official market again to help unify the naira’s exchange rates.

New agency Reuters said that investors cheered when Tinubu lifted the currency controls, hoping a unified exchange rate would make it easier to access foreign currency, but that is yet to happen.

And the seemingly ever-depreciating naira and the record-high inflation rate have taken their toll on all Nigerians, resulting in a cost-of-living crisis for many.

Poor and indigent Nigerians – particularly internally displaced persons – cannot afford even the basics. It is not unusual for them to go to bed without having had one meal in a day.

Livestock traders say buying their animals from the neighbouring countries has been difficult for many years because of the insurgency. But the coup in Niger, which resulted in all borders being closed, and the value, or lack thereof, of the naira have added to their problems.

Abubakar Adam Umar, secretary of Livestock Dealers’ Association in Maiduguri, told RNI that first it was the insurgency that affected their ability to buy cattle from neighbouring countries. They could not travel because it was far too dangerous. Besides, most of the roads were considered no-go areas.

Then the coup in Niger had resulted in all the borders being closed, which also negatively affected trading, he said.

“And now, the devaluation of the naira has made it a real challenge financially. Cattle we bought before the naira’s drastic depreciation cost us about ₦35,000. Now they cost at least ₦80,000 per head, sometimes even more. Dealers are struggling.”

Mohammed Umar, a cattle dealer, said it was normal for traders to buy most of their livestock from the neighbouring countries.

“The state of the naira against the CFA has negatively affected our business. We cannot buy the number of cattle we used to purchase. And then, back in Nigeria we can’t sell the cattle because of the prohibitive cost of living. Our market is getting smaller every day.”

Mohammed Kyari, a buyer and seller of livestock, said: “I used to buy cattle for ₦200,000. But now, for the same number of cattle, I have to pay anything from ₦600,000 to ₦700,000.

“I sell the cattle at retail prices in Nigeria. I used to buy two or three cattle a day, now I cannot buy more than one and I struggle to sell it. Often I go for days without being able to sell my cattle.”

The high price of livestock has also affected the raw meat market.

Consumer Jidda Mohammed said he used to buy 1kg of meat for ₦1,500 but now the same amount of meat costs ₦3,000.

“It has affected me – it means I cannot buy meat every day. Sometimes days go by without my family eating meat. It’s just one of those things. We have to get used to doing without.”



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