• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Nigeria economy and the saboteurs within

Nigeria economy and the saboteurs within

As I reflect on the current state of Nigeria, I am amazed by the paradoxical economy that seems to defy logic and reason. Nigeria, a country blessed with abundant natural resources and potential for self-sufficiency, has become increasingly unaffordable for the average citizen, further blurring the invisible line between the rich, middle-class, and the poor. This question remains a priority if we are to delve deeper into the underlying factors driving this economic imbalance that has placed Nigeria on a scale of uncertainty.

At the forefront of this alarming issue is the alarming inflation of cement prices, which have soared to unprecedented heights, surpassing 10,000 naira per bag. What perplexes me even more is the fact that all the raw materials for cement production, such as the gas for powering production plants, including limestone, are found in 14 states in Nigeria, including Sokoto, Gombe, Edo, Oyo, Plateau, Ogun, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Enugu, Ebonyi, Benue, Ondo, and Kogi states; billions of metric tonnes of clay spread across Edo, Bauchi, Taraba, and others; and about 1 billion metric tonnes of gypsum found in Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, and Sokoto.

Similarly troubling is the surge in iron prices, another key material in cement production, despite the presence of abundant iron ore reserves within our borders. States like Kogi, Enugu, and Niger are endowed with rich deposits of iron ore, highlighting our nation’s potential for self-sufficiency in iron production. Yet, the inexplicable escalation in iron prices raises questions about market manipulation and profiteering at the expense of the Nigerian populace.

Essential minerals sourced locally in Nigeria are being sold at exorbitant prices, straining consumers’ budgets. In Nigeria, the cost of land to buy cement for construction is tripled, and trucks of sand are scarce. The price of locally produced cement is constantly rising, competing with the foreign rate at the top of the chart. This highlights the need for sustainable and affordable mineral sources in Nigeria.

The price surge is causing inflation in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, causing affordability issues for locally produced rice. Despite government efforts to promote domestic production and reduce import reliance, the affordability crisis remains. Promoting local products could limit imports and increase exports, putting Nigeria in the global market and boosting its economy.

The prices of locally grown rice in Nigeria have significantly increased, highlighting systemic inefficiencies and market distortions that threaten food security and increase economic hardship. The continuous dollar increments in states like Kebbi, Ebonyi, and Kano have sabotaged the accumulation of wealth, causing food security to be threatened and causing economic hardship.

The exploitation of foreign exchange rates by traders to price essential commodities like pepper, palm oil, onions, and garri from locally sourced cassava further diminishes the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians, exacerbates economic disparities, and widens the gap between the privileged few and the marginalised majority. This raises the question of whether Nigerians should blame the government for their economic struggles.

The Nigerian economy’s downfall is causing pain and scorching for all Nigerians, regardless of their status. Traders’ greed for profit, disregarding its negative impact, pushes millions below poverty, blaming foreign exchange for the issue. This term is often misunderstood and does not directly impact locally sourced goods.

I am reminded of the urgent need for decisive action to address the root causes of Nigeria’s economic woes. It is imperative that we hold accountable those responsible for price manipulation and market distortion while implementing targeted interventions to alleviate the burden on the most vulnerable segments of society.

In the short term, I advocate for the regulation of executive orders allowing for the temporary importation of food, cement, and all essential items. This measure will provide much-needed relief to Nigerians grappling with inflated prices while enabling the government to address underlying supply chain inefficiencies and market distortions.

Simultaneously, I call upon our elected representatives to collaborate on enacting legislation that safeguards consumers against exploitation and ensures fair and transparent pricing uniformity. By establishing clear guidelines and penalties for price increment and market manipulation, the government can foster a business environment that prioritises the well-being and prosperity of all Nigerians.

In conclusion, the economic challenges facing Nigeria demand a coordinated and multifaceted response. As citizens, we must remain vigilant in holding our leaders and owners of the means of production accountable and advocating for policies that prioritise the needs of the people. Only through collective action and unwavering determination can we chart a path towards a more equitable and prosperous future for our beloved nation.

Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye, a Communication-for-Development Expert, sent in this piece from London, United Kingdom. He can be reached via [email protected].