By Muhammad Nur Tijani
As The Ramadan fast progresses, ice block sellers are making brisk business in Kano, due to the high demand for cold water, occasioned by the hot weather condition.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the rise in the temperature to over 38 to 40 degree Celsius in the last few days had exposed the residents of the city to severe heat.
The prevailing hot weather condition, coupled with epileptic power supply and the Ramadan fast, all combined to create a high demand for cold water by residents.
Further checks revealed that apart from customers that buy the ice to mix with water for drinking, some other patrons included sachet water vendors, soft drinks sellers, who need the ice blocks to keep their wares cold.
A survey conducted in the metropolis showed that prices of ice block had gone up by over 100 percent over the old prices.
According to the survey, a small size of the commodity is now being sold at N150 as against N50, while a big sized ice block sells for N250, as against its old price of N100.
Isa Sule, who owns a cold room at Dakata, said that the patronage had been very high since the hot season began and sales had doubled with the commencement of the Ramadan fast.
“Business had never been this brisk for the past few years. I make returns from daily sales of about N 25, 000,” he said.
Another cold room operator on Zoo road, in the metropolis, Hamza Yusuf, said he was amazed by the rush for ice blocks, since the commencement of the Ramadan fast.
Yusuf said the business was seasonal, but they used almost half of the profit to pay electricity bills and buy diesel to operate their generators following the persistent power outages.
Another dealer, Mr Sid George, said he sold more than 400 blocks of ice daily, as against less than 150 blocks at off-season periods.
He expressed joy over the appreciable patronage, especially during this period of Ramadan fast, saying: “The business is profitable as I make between N15, 000 and N20, 000 a day,“ he said.
A buyer, Malam Musa Idris, told NAN that he spent about N500 daily on ice blocks, since the commencement of Ramadan on April 13.
Yusuf Abbas, another buyer, also expressed concern over the price increases within just a few days of the commencement of the Ramadan fast.
Abbas advised the traders to be God-fearing by reducing the prices of the commodity to earn Allah’s blessings during this sacred month of Ramadan.
Reacting to the power outages, Mr Ibrahim Shawai, Head of Corporate Communications, KEDCO, said in a statement that the thermal stations supplying the Grid that feeds KEDCO had not been generating power due to the shortage of gas to fire the power plants; hence the epileptic power supply.
He appealed to electricity consumers for understanding over the recent shortage of power supply in its franchise areas of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.
“KEDCO does not generate, we rather distribute whatever has been generated,” he said.