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Poor electricity supply forces frozen foods vendor to spend ₦400k on diesel monthly

The frozen foods vendor spends ₦30,000 on diesel every other day, which amounts to at least ₦400,000 a month.

A scene in a Lagos suburb captures a Nigerian frozen foods vendor at her vibrant outlet [DALL-E]

Many small businesses have been plunged into a dire struggle for survival since the erratic electricity supply in the country worsened in December 2023. Some enterprises have gone under, while some continue to weather the storm, hoping things will get better.

For Temitope Adegoke, the proprietor of Topjour Frozen Enterprises in the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State, the chronic power crisis in recent times has subjected her business to uncertainty and difficulty.

Ayodele has a cold room and a flourishing retail shop where she sells frozen foods. Her business largely depends on electricity to thrive, but the epileptic power supply in the area has been a major challenge.

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According to her, the electricity supply in Iju-Ishaga has been very poor lately. “About two weeks ago, we did not have light at all. In 24 hours, we had it for two or three hours,” she lamented.

Narrating her ordeal, Adegoke said the prolonged outages have dealt a severe blow to her business in a way that led to significant losses.

“The poor power supply is affecting my business in many ways. We had to throw away some of our stock when they started decaying in the freezer,” she said.

Before the electricity crisis worsened, residents of Iju Ishaga, where Adegoke’s business is situated, could boast of 18 to 22 hours of steady electricity.

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This situation helped small and medium establishments in the area to thrive as they did not have to rely on generators to keep their businesses alive.

“When the supply was good, we were not buying fuel regularly. Before now, we had a stable power supply. Our electricity may not be interrupted for two or three weeks. But now, it is very poor,” Adegoke said.

“When the light was stable, we didn’t even have a generator, because even if there was a power outage, it would be restored within five or six hours. And it could be like that for four to five days uninterrupted.”

Like many other businesses, the struggle to survive the blackouts for Topjour Frozen Enterprises started in December when the electricity crisis deteriorated, suffocating some and plunging others into debt.

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However, in a bid to keep her business afloat, Adegoke decided to acquire a heavy-duty diesel generator to keep her perishable stocks fresh.

“We use diesel now because only heavy-duty generators like MIKANO can be used for our freezers, petrol-powered generators cannot power them properly.”

She said she bought the generator in December 2023, adding that the situation has worsened since January.

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Even after getting a diesel-powered generator to sustain her business, Adegoke dares not use the machine to power her freezers every day.

The frozen foods vendor said she spends ₦30,000 on diesel every other day, which amounts to at least ₦400,000 a month.

“In a month, if I have to apply wisdom by using the generator alternately, I’ll still spend at least ₦400,000,” she disclosed.

Despite the challenge, Adegoke is moving heaven and earth to keep her business alive and retain her six employees who rely on her for livelihood.

“Honestly, there’s not much profit in the frozen foods business. Nevertheless, you won’t want your customers to leave you for another place. This is why we do everything we can, hoping things will get better.

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“Sometimes, we struggle to pay workers. At times, they will ask me to delay their pay till we make some profit. I used to pay their salaries at once but now, that is no longer possible because I spend so much on diesel,” she said.

Adegoke’s struggle to keep her business up amid the lingering electricity crisis in the country underscores Nigerian entrepreneurs’ resilience to remain in business even in the face of excruciating challenges.

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