Residents of Kano metropolis have lamented an increase in the price of ice blocks by over 100 per cent amidst the heatwave in the last few weeks and the ongoing Ramadan fast.
Kano/Jigawa Chronicle observes that ice block sellers have flooded streets in the metropolis making brisk business, while residents join queues to make purchases at a price suitable to the sellers.
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Many residents complained that they spend at least N500 on ice blocks every day because it is now an essential remedy to the intense heat being experienced in the city, with the temperature going as high as 40 degrees Celsius.
According to some buyers, the ice block which was sold at N100 before Ramadan is now being sold for as high as N250, while the small one sold at N40 before is now N100.
Nazir Sani, a resident of Dandinshe, said he would not be able to bear the increase in the price if the ugly development continues.
Halima Abdullahi, a mother of four, said even though ice block was necessary due to the hot weather, the sellers should look into the economic situation in the country as some residents were struggling to get food to eat.
“This is the holy month of Ramadan and things like these are expected to be cheaper but instead they are using the opportunity to become rich. For me, I have to buy it that way because I cannot afford to miss cold water during this hot weather,” she said.
Dealers blame power shortage as the reason
During a visit to ASADA, a major ice block market on Katsina road popularly known as Gidan Kankara Kano, it was observed that many people were trooping with their sacks and other containers to buy the ice block while bigger buyers bring small trucks and tricycles to carry the ice blocks to longer distances.
Aminu Lawan, who was seen by our correspondent packing his ice blocks inside a tricycle, said they had no option than to buy at any price since people would still buy.
He said people accused them of hiking the price of ice blocks, “honestly we sell as we buy and we have no hand in the price hike. The dealers often complained to us that there is no light and they have to use diesel which is the reason behind the increase.”
A dealer, who owns cold rooms in the market, Abba Dauda said they were not happy with the increase in the price too, but the shortage of power supply was the reason behind the upsurge and that every day he spent over N70, 000 on diesel.
“If not for Ramadan, we won’t use our generators because there is no much demand. But the coming of Ramadan increases the demand so we have to buy diesel to get the ice blocks,” he said.
He said he spent N18, 000 on electricity in a day, adding “We all have our meters and each unit is sold to us at N75 by KEDCO since we are on a small-scale line. But the problem is the shortage. Before the coming of Ramadan we used to have 15 hours light but now we hardly get six hours, therefore we have to turn on our generators.”
The Vice-Chairman of the ASADA ice block market,, Alhaji Shamsuddeen Aliyu said they were working with KEDCO to solve the problem of power shortage, promising that the price would soon come down.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of KEDCO said the epileptic power supply was beyond the organisation and that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had already issued a statement as to the course of the disruption in supply. He promised to make the statement available to one of our reporters but has not as at press time.