When President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on May 29, during his inauguration speech, announced that there would be no more payment for subsidy, little did Nigerians know the suffering that stared them in the face. What was supposed to be a new era of promises soon turned into fear and panic as filling stations went on over-drive, jerking up the price of fuel from N198 to N500. That was the beginning of chaos and suffering, one that was soon to take another turn for the worse.
This move, although deemed necessary by some, has brought upon the masses an unprecedented level of pain and hardship. The removal of fuel subsidy has sparked nationwide debates and raised concerns about the government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens.
While the government argues that subsidy removal is a crucial step towards economic growth and development, the common people bear the brunt of its consequences. The cost of living has skyrocketed, and the working class is feeling the pinch as they struggle to meet their daily needs. Transportation costs have surged, affecting everything from food prices to healthcare accessibility. It seems the burden of this policy is falling disproportionately on the already marginalized sections of society.
Fuel Subsidy Removal: The Pain We Have To Endure
As Nigerians were still adjusting to the N500 and above price of a litre, things turned from bad to worse when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) jerked up the price to N617. The cries turned to wailings for the common man.
For the masses, this is like swimming against the tides. The purchasing power has declined drastically, food inflation is on the rise, tuition fees have increased astronomically and businesses are crumbling.
While it seems like the world is crumbling, economists and experts continue to praise the government for the bold step in removing fuel subsidy. Fuel has to go for Nigeria to move forward. They economists know more than the average person and for now, Nigerians can endure the pains and hardships, with the hope that the sun will shine again.
However, before the sun shines, something much is done to cushion the impact of the rainfall. This is where palliatives come in. With the current economic hardship, the outcry that greeted President Tinubu’s proposed N8000 palliatives for 12 million Nigerians was justified, leading the suspension of the initiative.
For Nigerians to see from the lens of government, President Tinubu’s administration needs to roll out substantial palliatives to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal and do that fast. An increase in workers’ wages will not be a bad idea.
A more effective intervention will be the opening of the borders to allow food into the country. The government will, through this, kill two birds with a stone – crash the rising prices of foodstuff while generating revenue (excise duties) from such importation. In Yoruba, “if the poor can feed, the poverty is always diminished”.