Many people have died because of financial struggles, unemployment and poverty, all of which have impeded the path of success for many Nigerians.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics [NBS], over 84 million Nigerians are living in extreme poverty, surviving below $1.9 per day, whilst 133 million [63 per cent of the country’s population] is multi-dimensionally poor.
Nigerian Economic Summit Group [NESG] estimates unemployment to surge to 37 per cent by 2023. Inflation at 21.34 in December 2022 is making a mess of household disposable income, workers’ salaries, and the 2019 minimum wage of N30,000.
The report shows clearly that Nigeria is still wallowing in abject poverty with the multiple anti-people policies and taxes that have ruined many businesses without support or aid from the government.
Last week the House of Representatives approved with the speed of light the N500 billion requested by President Bola Tinubu for the provision of “palliatives” to mitigate the impact of petroleum subsidy removal on Nigerians.
Surprisingly, no one amongst these lawmakers debated or argued on how the money would be spent, none of them also raised a suggestion about the four refineries that have been abandoned for decades.
They woefully failed in their first assignment, how will they assure Nigerians that they will represent their interests right if they were unable to ask crucial questions with regards to the N500 billion that Tinubu requested? We all know that the country has no credible data to rely on to guarantee the purported disbursement of the laughable N8,000 per household.
Tinubu has emphatically proven to be an economics illiterate, contrary to the desperate and misleading claims made by his supporters prior to the presidential election.
His controversial decision to prioritise feeding only 12 million people out of the 84 million Nigerians living in extreme poverty, instead of using the funds to fix a refinery and reduce pump price, questions his true intention with respect to the requested N500 billion.
An economist would most likely have considered a more comprehensive and long-term approach to address poverty and economic challenges, taking into account the broader impact of his decision on the economy and society as a whole.
Feeding a household with a paltry N8,000 whilst facing high prices for essential items like rice and several other staple food items is a total mockery. It is clear that the cost of living has skyrocketed considerably and even the minimum wage is not sufficient to purchase a single bag of rice, not to talk of meeting other financial needs.
Transparency and accountability are crucial for any government to gain and maintain public confidence.
Therefore, Tinubu’s government needs to prove to Nigerians beyond mere words that their interests are being represented and protected. This needs to be seen, not heard.
The rising cost of living in Nigeria is a major concern and is totally unsustainable. Tinubu’s-led government, which must prove to Nigerians that it is not the advanced version of dictator Buhari’s, needs to take measures to control inflation and stabilise prices of essential commodities like rice and several others. This can be done through effective monetary and fiscal policies.
The current minimum wage of N30,000 is inadequate to meet the basic needs of households. He should consider revising and increasing the minimum wage to ensure that workers can afford essential items and have a decent standard of living.
Over-reliance on oil revenues has made the Nigerian economy vulnerable to external shocks. The government should prioritise diversifying the economy by promoting sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and technology. This can create more employment opportunities and reduce dependence on imported goods.
The Nigerian government must equally prioritise the well-being of its citizens and take immediate action to address the challenges faced by households in meeting their basic needs. This requires a comprehensive approach that includes measures to control inflation, increase income levels, create jobs, provide social safety nets, diversify the economy, Improve governance, and invest in infrastructure.
Investing the N500 billion in fixing abandoned refineries would be a viable option. Repairing and upgrading refineries can lead to increased energy production, job creation, and economic growth. This would contribute to the country’s energy security and potentially reduce dependence on imported petroleum products.
By improving domestic refineries, the country can reduce its reliance on imported petroleum products. This can enhance energy independence, reduce vulnerability to international market fluctuations, and potentially stabilise fuel prices for consumers.
Tinubu should prioritise how to revive the economy and make strategic decisions to ensure the efficient use of Nigeria’s resources rather than focusing on enriching his cohorts.