By Adebayo Abubakar
These are, no doubt, hard times for Nigerians, irrespective of their socio-economic statuses. There is insecurity; front, back, left, right and centre.
From the North East to the North West; farmers are not safe, to venture into their farmlands, to plant or even harvest, what they’ve managed to plant.
Even travelers are not spared, as people going to Abuja, from Kaduna have to seek refuge, either air transport or rail transport. People who travel by road are daily, either being mowed down by bandits, or get kidnapped.
Where insecurity is not as rife, houses are being submerged, and farmlands swept away, as flooding, occasioned by torrential rain intensifies in places that serve as the nation’s food production belts.
What becomes of our national food security, in six months from now?
That is a question that, of recent, bothers me to no end. Where flooding is not displacing people; lockdown, as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, keeps most of the people away from their means of livelihood, or any other productive ventures that would have helped in amelioration their sufferings.
In the face of all these challenges; what is Federal Government’s response?
Tariff increase; Introduction of new tax handles; Increase in VAT. Removal of subsidy on essential goods and services (petrol and electricity tariff) by a government that sees no need or reason to cutdown, on how much is spent in running the ineffectual machinery of government.
Is this Government trying to test the resolve of Nigerians?
Governments across the world are busy, providing one form of socioeconomic palliative or the other, with a view to reflate their respective recessive economies.
On the flip side of the social structure is a club of political elites that live large, on public resources, at the detriment of the pauperized masses.
There is no gainsaying that, the Nigerian Presidency is not the most attractive office in the land today, no thank to the dwindling revenue from crude oil that forms the largest source of the country’s Forex, vis a vis, the need to provide essential public service.
This is as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought the entire global economy to its knees, leading to a fall in the demand for crude oil in the international market.
This coupled with the mounting challenge of infrastructural deficit, accumulated, through misgovernance over the years, by whoever occupied the office of the Nigerian Presidency.
Whoever occupy the Aso presidential villa is occupying a post that is not the most enviable, as of today.
But this writer does not believe, the kind of fiscal policies being reeled out by the government is well-timed, considering the excruciating effects of Covid-19 pandemic on both micro and macro economies.
This period of economic lockdown is not a good time to impose any policy that tends to diminish the purchasing power of the citizens.
The government of president Muhammadu Buhari, in addition to the increase to 7.5%of VAT, has also sanction an increase in the electricity tariff, and full deregulation of the downstream sector of the Petroleum industry.
These are two key commodities that affect the prices of almost, all items that are daily, being consumed by both the poor and the rich.
When is enough of these government policies that are devoid of human face, going to be enough.
When will the masses say “NO” to those policies of annihilation that add salt to injuries.
May be, one or two more