• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Mitigating economic hardship: The Nigerian narrative

Building resilience in tough times

Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is on a side of economic downturn. How are we going to revive the economy of the sleeping giant of Africa?

In this case, the price of every item has skyrocketed; the nation is on the verge of economic holocaust. What is the root cause of the economic downturn Nigeria is experiencing?

Which way Nigeria? Is corruption the root cause of the economic hardship we are experiencing as a nation?

As a matter of fact, Nigeria is considered the largest economy in Africa with the production of crude oil and many other natural resources we are endowed with.

For how long will this economic hardship persist? How are we going to curb the hardship befallen us?

It will be recalled that at the inception of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Nigeria borders were closed in order to check influx of unwanted goods into the country, and to encourage patronage of locally made goods. But, unfortunately, this led to an increase in the prices of goods in the country.

His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came into power on Monday May 27, 2023 with his first statement that subsidy was gone, and immediately there was a drastic change. Prices of everything began to soar. It affected transportation, food items, petroleum products, and practically all goods and services in the country.

The Nigerian economy a mixed one in which the means of production is executed by the government and private companies, based on government regulations however.

Practically speaking, Nigeria is a capitalist state, because most of the means of production are carried out by private companies. Capitalist state is a state in which the means of production is being executed by private individuals; the ownership of companies is by private individuals.

However, if the Nigerian government intends to cushion the hardship on Nigerians, the rightful stand needs to be taken by ensuring that there is proper regulation and control of market forces.

In recent times, the Nigerian government has given the private sector too much free hand to operate, thereby enabling some capitalists to take advantage of the situation within the nation.

For us to progress economically, the government needs to be actively involved in the means of production through its ministry.

We are well endowed with mineral resources that can be fine-tuned to benefit every citizen.

In the case of the border closure to check importation of goods, the Nigerian government needs to make a survey of the market by undertaking some research on the benefit so far recorded since the borders were closed. This will enable the government to take appropriate action in that regard. The truth of the matter is that many Nigerians are daily making a case for border reopening, and government should not take this for granted.

Truly, part of the reason for the border closure was to get the citizens patronise made-in-Nigeria products, which would also help in strengthening the Naira. However, some capitalist see this as an opportunity to milk their fellow citizens.

For us to progress economically, the government needs to do the needful by addressing the yearnings of Nigerians.

The cost of living is on the high side within the country. The border needs to be reopened to lessen the suffering.

Truth must also be told that until we start producing effectively rather than just consuming foreign products, our naira will keep losing its value. We must strike a balance. Perpetual shutting of the border is not the answer. There must be proper regulation to ensure that capitalists do not prey on unsuspecting citizens.

The government must ensure that capitalist within Nigeria adhere to the regulation of market control by government.

The food production process needs to be effectively managed by the government because a hungry man is an angry man; however, to progress economically, there needs to be political stability.

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress is clamouring for an increase in salary of workers. When and if that happens, without striking a proper balance, it may also lead to other unintended consequences. Prices of commodities and services will skyrocket which will breed another problem in the country. There must be a balance in all these.

The right action that should be taken is for the government to begin to regulate prices of commodities and sanctions meted out to those that fail to adhere to the regulation and control by the government.

 

.Akingbohungbe writes from Lagos

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