These are indeed hard times for the average Nigerian citizen who again is being compelled to swallow the bitter pill with another round of fuel price hike and 70% increase in electricity tariff. This is coming at a time when the already impoverished majority of the citizens are licking the wounds inflicted on them by the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. The recent increase in the pump price of fuel from 142 naira to 162 naira and electricity bill as high as 70% is coming at a time Nigerians least expected it, with the prices of food items and other consumable goods going up astronomically. It is obvious that we are not getting our priorities right, coupled with mismanagement of our God given resources.
Thus, the common man suffers for it. This development is a clear case of the government abandoning its responsibility of providing a safe haven for the citizens to the whims and caprices of the so-called market forces. Nigerians voted for and ushered in a government that would make life worth living and not hellish as we have it today. The people are groaning and crying aloud for help against the backdrop of taxes being imposed on them left, right and centre without corresponding measures taken to mitigate their suffering. As if the price increase that appears to make life meaningless to the average citizen is not enough, the Federal, State and Local Governments impose all forms of direct and indirect taxes, too numerous to mention, to further torment and dehumanize the poverty stricken Nigerians who barely survive on low income and poorly paid jobs.
Unemployment and under employment, in most cases, have been the lot of the willing population who desire to work, but full employment remains elusive in the country. Supposing Nigerians are productively engaged and the government musters enough political will to create a conducive environment for business and entrepreneurship to thrive, the citizens would willingly, without being forced, pay their taxes. It is a sad story to tell that among the millions of job seekers scrambling for the ad-hoc 774,000 jobs created by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, among the unskillful persons that the job is meant for are PhD and Master degree holders competing alongside people with lower qualification.
This is how bad the nation’s unemployment crises have been and calls for desperate measure to reverse the trend. It is unfortunate that under the poor state of things, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, causing all forms of hardship, the authorities have decided to sit on the fence, leaving the market forces to determine the prices of goods and services. Such happening in a developing economy as ours, speaks volume of our leaders’ insensitivity. We join all well-meaning Nigerians and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to call for a halt to these additional burden of fuel price increase and hike in electricity bill being foisted on Nigerians. They are already traumatized to a breaking point with job losses, high cost of transportation, soaring food prices and non payment of salaries to contend with.
Agreed that government at all levels need money to implement projects and programmes to improve the living standard of its citizens, but it should go beyond regular increase in the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff which we think will hurt the masses more, and work on cutting down on the fat salaries and allowances paid to political office holders. It also needs to divert the surplus to sustain the economy to save the ordinary Nigerian from further burden. Before the government add these new burdens to the common Nigerians, they should de-subsidies themselves by removing the huge amount of money they’re collecting in salaries and allowances