What if you had an application that could suggest what will happen to the price of bottled water if the government were to remove fuel subsidy or the CBN were to suddenly depreciate the Naira?
A DFID funded startup in Nigeria has designed a web application that can demonstrate the effects of trade barriers on the price of select goods and services. The application uses statistical models to determine suggested prices of common household items such as bottled water, Lipton, shoes etc.
The application is called Trade Critic and was developed by Resourcedat, Nigeria’s first document sharing website. According to Ized Uanikhehi, the Managing Partner of Resourcedat “the product basically applies the changes in price of fuel, diesel and exchange rate over the last decade into statistical models to determine the effect on the price of select goods if any of these variables where to change’.
“By adjusting the price of fuel, diesel or exchange rate (variables) one can to an extent project the future prices of goods and services” she said. Asked what inspired the team to develop the application she said “despite the frequent increases in prices of fuel over the years due to the controversial subsidy removal no one really knew how the past increase had affected prices of goods and services, making it difficult for even the government to take better decisions when any increase is being mulled. We also observed that the government had tried out several policies such as deregulation, ban on importation of some goods, increase in tariffs all of which affect the prices of goods and services.
The developers opined that they settled for fuel, diesel and exchange rate because the three items are the most common input shared by basically all producers of goods and services. Therefore, the application is a useful tool that can be used by decision makers and handlers of the economy to make better informed policies. Trade Critic can also help businesses forecast the effect of any of the three variables on prices of some of their cost inputs.
“The potentials for Trade Critic are enormous and we believe over the next few months we shall add new products to the five that we have piloted. The challenge for us will always be to obtain relevant data, considering that they have to be over at least ten years to ensure our statistical models are well grounded. However that is what Resourcedat is known for” Ized concludes.
To use Trade Critic a user simply selects a product and adjust the prices of either or all of fuel, diesel and exchange rate. The statistical models built in the application backend works out a suggested price based and displays it in seconds.
You can try the trade critic app on your mobile phone, tablet or computer by visiting tradecritic.info/simulator.