• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Hard times in Nigeria as Tinubu’s reforms deepen cost of living crisis – Reuters

On the horizon

Nigeria is grappling with the worst cost of living crisis in decades, which has deepened since President Tinubu introduced bold but unpopular economic reforms after he assumed office last May, Reuters is reporting.

Nigeria imports food and fuel and was buffeted by high global prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war, just as it had exited a COVID-19-induced recession in 2020.

Tinubu, who campaigned on a “Renewed Hope” slogan, removed a costly petrol subsidy and foreign currency controls, to improve government finances, restore credibility with investors and kick-start the economy.

But inflation has soared to its highest in three decades and the naira currency is slumping to record lows, pressured by acute dollar shortages. Prices of food, cooking gas, medicines, fuel, and public transport have shot up, squeezing household budgets.

Reuters reports that Tinubu inherited an economy that was already struggling with record debt, high unemployment, low oil output, subsidies that drained government finances and power shortages that have crimped growth.

“With about 8 percent of Nigerians deemed food insecure, addressing rising food insecurity is the immediate policy priority,” the International Monetary Fund said on March 4 after a staff visit.

An Abuja resident, Blessing Joseph has been weaving bags, sandals and jewellery earning enough money to feed her son and send him to school. But since November, she has fallen on hard times as customers have stopped coming and she and her son routinely go to bed hungry.
Last year, Joseph could easily make N30,000 a week but now she will be lucky to get N5,000, she said.

“People used to place orders. I’ll design for them, sometimes even (for) weddings I’II make souvenirs for them, but now those orders are not coming,” said the 29-year-old Abuja resident.

“It has been very, very difficult, especially that I have a son and he needs to go to school, he needs to eat.”

According to Reuters, Nigeria’s problems have also rippled through company boardrooms.