In Buhari’s Nigeria, young people are slowly giving up on the soft life dream. Not only is 33% of the working population unemployed, but even the ones who are employed are fighting sapa

One of the biggest opps Nigerian youths are battling is inflation which rose to 20.77% in September 2022. It’s the highest inflation rate in 17 years and we fear Buhari just wants to break any record whether good or bad. But the biggest victims of the worrying inflation rate are young Nigerians and their dreams. 

We had a conversation with two young Nigerians to understand how they’re surviving the inflation crisis.

“Data and fuel are my weekly money suckers” — Irene

Irene Akinyemi is a 23-year student and community builder. And, of course, data is necessary for her work – one thing that is hardly ever available or cheap in Nigeria.

ALSO READ: The Naira is Fighting for Its Life. Who Can Save It?

How are you coping with inflation?

Transportation, data and electricity costs are through the roof. The fuel of ₦5,000 which used to be enough for a week in the generator now lasts three days. ₦6,000 for 25GB used to last for a month — and sometimes spill over into the next one  — but now finishes after three weeks, or even two.

What adjustments are you forced to make?

I’ve had to reduce the money spent on my necessities and cut down on unnecessary items that I used to buy. Also, before I make a purchase, I go over the things I need to buy to see if it’s really necessary or not.

What’s the biggest thing inflation has deprived you?

Inflation has reduced my fun money or the money that I spend on things that aren’t necessities. For instance, I don’t splurge on eating out as I used to.

A Stears Business report in 2017 estimated that Nigerians spent an average of 7% of the minimum wage of ₦30k on data monthly. But the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) reported that affordable data should cost no more than 2% of their monthly income. Inflation has grown worse in Nigeria since those reports five years ago, and our second subject is feeling the burn.

“I’m this close to shutting down my business” — Samuel

Samuel* is a chef who owns a restaurant on Lagos Island. He also doubles as a caterer for special occasions and events. But since he started his business, 2022 is the first time he’s regretting his career path.

How are you coping with inflation?

Things hadn’t been the smoothest since I started the restaurant in 2018, but at least one was trying. I could budget for ₦1.3 million as my rent, and buy foodstuff at Mile 12 around ₦300k and ₦400k every month. But with this inflation, it takes the grace of God to run a business.

In a week, I can spend up to ₦400k or even ₦450k per week on foodstuff, and my landlord increased next year’s rent to ₦2 million. I don’t even want to talk about overhead and payment of salaries. Three of my best employees left in August because of the ₦70k salary, but I can’t steal to pay these guys. My turnover since September has been ₦50k or less. 

It’s becoming a huge issue for me to run this business and I’m this close to shutting everything down because of inflation. I might as well focus on getting referrals for special occasions.

What’s the biggest thing inflation has deprived you?

I’ve always wanted to be like Chef Stone and have my very own five-star restaurant, get global recognition, and even start my own catering school. But all of that may be on pause until we get a new era of government. Hopefully, things will pick up soon.

ALSO READ: You Should Worry About Nigeria’s Hunger Crisis



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.