It’s indeed an exciting season for the Nigerian populace which boasts of an estimated population of around two hundred million, a number which makes it the most populated black nation on the surface of the earth. Within the circles of the Nigerian media sector, the pages of its newspapers and various online platforms the Nigerian realities coupled with the actions and decisions of its leader’s has indeed given Nigerians something good to talk about, the Media stream of the nation must definitely have an headache picking which of these numerous topics to grace it’s headline while the popular BBC Yoruba/IGBO will never run short of breathtaking and witty headlines for these various issues as they churn out.
However if we are to have a decent summary of the nation’s discourse in the past few days or weeks we can conveniently say without any iota of doubt or sentiment attached that indeed it’s no Christmas in Nigeria, it’s a season of hikes for its populace. Reasons not farfetched as the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has reeled out various plans to increase certain commodities in Nigeria which it’s has successfully executed to the anguish and screams of the obviously disappointed Nigerian populace.
Last week, Nigerians were thrilled to an early September gift from the Federal Government as the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) which is a subsidiary of NNPC raised the price of the petroleum from N143 per litre to N151 pee litre while the Nigeria. Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC) was not also left out of the hike as it increased the nation’s electricity tariff.
While many Nigerians are obviously not happy with the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the presidency has risen out to defend its policies stating that it is only necessary for the federal government to take such a drastic but bold and courageous move adding that the only way to restore the nation back to the path of growth and development is by taking those actions.
Putting the final nail on the coffin, President Muhammadu Buhari through the Vice President of the Nation, Prof Yemi Osinbajo stated that there’s no going back on the decision of the Federal Government.
Through the Vice President, Buhari had explained that the nation Nigeria has lost 60% of its income due to the effect of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Federal Government had no other means than to remove the subsidy on Petroleum which the federal government of Nigeria could not afford to continue paying as the nation’s reserve has been depleted.
Adding to these, the Minister of Information of the Federation, Lai Mohammed puts the exact amount which the Federal Government of Nigeria expanded on petrol subsidy in 13years at N10.41 trillion. He also explained that the Muhammadu Buhari led administration so far has expended N1.7 trillion to augment electricity tariff shortfalls in the nation.
While there are justifications for the actions and decisions of the President to raise the prices of these commodities, many see the decision as an outright insensitivity and disregard for the welfare of the common man.
In the past few months in the history of the nation, and that of the global scene, business enterprise has collapsed, this is not only just with the small and medium scale enterprise as key brands and major industries had to close down in the wake of Covid-19, the loss of manpower which is as a result of the numerous dear counting to thousands across the globe which did rendered world economy shattered and the loss of job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic while there’s a rising increase in inflation which has made the prices of goods and services to skyrocket making it hard for the common man to meet his needs and wants in the midst of all these realities.
There’s no doubt that the increase in the price of fuel and electricity tariff will definitely have a various negative effects on the economy as people are find it hard coming to terms with the new changes. Other sector of the nation’s economy in the wake of this increase in electricity tariff will definitely follow suit as their cost of production will definitely increase leading to a rise in their selling price, this also applies to the transportation industry as there will definitely be a rise in the price of transportation fees either with motorists, buses and cars. This implies that for farmers and other providers of the various raw materials that are being used in various industries across the nation there will be a hike in the prices of their raw materials which the various industries which needs them will be using. And in the long run there’s no denial that there will eventually be a hike in the selling prices of these various commodities as produced by these industries.
While there an increase in these various sectors without an increase in the buying power of the common man there will definitely be an huge economic shift as the gap between the common man and the rich will keep growing more wild and this in the long run does not breed positive responses. Many as a result of this will have to resort to illegal ways of making money to meet their needs which will heightened the case of insecurities and all other social vices.
It will be recalled that the world bank keeps making fearful predictions regarding the economic situation of the nation, the world bank already predicted that the nation Nigeria may face its biggest recession in the last 40 years which sends a message to the Federal Government and its economic team that it needs to step on its gears to put in strong economic plan and policies with proper execution to prevent this situation. Adding to this the Nation experienced a shrink in its economy for the second quarter of 2020. This is an indication for the Federal Government of Nigeria to take its economic policies serious to avoid further damages.
While there’s nothing absolutely wrong with the removal of subsidy on petroleum or the like in electricity, this should have been done before now in a time when the economy was much stronger. It’s my advice for the federal government to ensure that they provide measures and facilities to ensure that the hardship caused by the increase which led to the further increase in other sectors of the nation’s economy.
By Marcus Amudipe