Wednesday, June 19Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine
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PRESIDENT TINUBU: YOUR POLICIES ARE ERODING THE PURCHASING POWER OF NIGERIANS TO GROUND ZERO: Sola Olatunji

1 In the true reality of life ,there is nothing cast in stone if we must make progress as a people. We must strive to break new ground and be able to compete effectively well in all human endeavours at the global stage. Therefore,the need for societal reforms that could trigger exponential socio-economic development becomes inevitable. But reforms must always be progressive intended, enduring, and embedded with a human face. Contrastingly, reforms become something else when citizens are choked up with multiple policies, and their purchasing powers are being eroded to almost ground zero and unable to make essential purchases to sustain their existence. Our manufacturers who are gasping for air for survival are inevitably entangled in these unfriendly policies as their warehouses are now glutted with finished goods and consumers are not in sight to make purchases because their purchasing power have since been eroded to ground zero within the first year of this administration.

2 It’s ironic that life has become nightmares to vulnerable Nigerians and consumers in the first year of this administration as Nigerians with excruciating experiences of the previous administration are being choked up with multiple harsh and unfriendly policies that have turned vulnerable Nigerians to walking corpses as life have become meaningless to them. These unwholesome and irritant welcome gifts by this administration are also compounded with a penchant for the lack of engagement of citizens on public policy, and when it does,it’s like earthquakes. The usual debate, which is associated with public policy as the hallmark of democracy to guarantee organic and quality views of citizens before final decision on policy formulation to prevent policy somersault and also encourage inclusion has been jettisoned in the first one year of this administration.

3 While Nigerians were trying to find their feet as a result of the unceremonious petrol subsidy removal without mitigation plans which has triggered hyperinflation on the national economy with food items hovering around 40%, within the first year of this administration and all promises to tame the inflation has remained within the realm of the imagination of this administration.The petrol subsidy removal angered Nigerians not because tbey were against it but how it was applied. In one of my articles, I predicted that this petrol subsidy removal model, which is import dependent, would lead to multi dimensional poverty in Nigeria, and as we speak,more Nigerians are being slipped below the poverty line.To further complicate matters , Nigerians woke up again to yet another harsh policy of electricity price increase by 300% within one year of this administration.

4 The electricity privatisation scheme that has been variously described as scams by Nigerians which some unscrupulous corporate Nigerians have converted to fleecing machines against vulnerable Nigerians with their obnoxious estimated and prohibitive billing system which is not applicable in any civilised society, with some irresponsible government officials acting as their mouthpiece. In some sane societies, governments should have carried out proper evaluation of the DISCOS activities in the last 12 years ,including the level of investment deployed,if any, and throw them out if found wanting. This absurdity is becoming unacceptable as this administration keeps inflicting more pain on Nigerians and boasting of uncommon progress, which is nowhere to be found within the first year of this administration. Wait a minute, must we solve all our problems within one year? Why can’t we be taking one step at a time in finding solutions to myraids of problems confronting us,especially since most of these problems have been there for decades? This administration keeps inflicting more taxes on Nigerians without adding #1 into their pockets in its one year in office We expect this administration to have effectively rationalised the implication of removing subsidies from both petrol and electricity within the same year and the likely consequences on the national economy before taking such decisions.

5 One would have even thought that by now, the much celebrated renewed hope agenda of this administration would have showered some rain of blessings on Nigerians, at least with the low hanging fruits portion of the renewed hope agenda . But regrettably,this renewed hope ideology of this administration has continued to visit Nigerians with afflictions and misery as vulnerable Nigerians are constantly being faced with multiple harsh policies targeted at reducing the purchasing power of consumers to almost ground zero without any of their economic policies deliberately designed to add a dime into their pockets in the last one year. In view of this extremely difficult situation, the few manufacturing companies that are managing to survive on the livesupport machine have been so frustrated as their warehouses are full of finished products without any consumers in sight to make purchases.

6 What kind of disingenuous economic model are we applying in Nigeria when our domestic industries are collapsing daily because of our delight in frustrating and strangulating their operations with unfriendly policies and deliberate attempt to send them out of business with harsh and unfriendly policies and yet we are mouthing industrialisation? Our situation is getting more degenerated in the last one year because most of our policies are being dictated and teleguided by the World Bank and IMF. These brettonwood institutions are complicating our problems as we have deliberately jettisoned homegrown solutions to our problems in the last year, and I am seriously in doubt if any borrowed foreign policy can resolve our domestic problems. What is the difference between this failed privatisation policy of electricity, which documents were merely passed to beneficiaries without any tangible investment by beneficiaries in the last 12 years, and the Emefiele currency redesigning policy that choked up some Nigerians to death and was later abrogated?

7 Why should Nigerians be the one to fund the lack of capacity of the beneficiaries of privatisation of electricity? Why is it that vulnerable Nigerians always bear the brunt of inefficiency of government? If Dezani steals money, Nigerians are to blame. If Dansuki mismanaged the public funds,it’s the poor people who will sacrifice. If Emefiele steals public funds,it’s vulnerable Nigerians who will be asked to sacrifice by the government. It’s evident that the rule of law ,transparency, and accountability that are hallmark of democracy have been compromised in our democratic journey, especially under this administration.

8 In Nigeria, policies are dished out by the government without prior conversation, and when Nigerians kicked against such policy ,what you hear is that there is ‘no going back on the policy.Look, Nigerians love their country just as the policy makers. No one can claim to love the country better than Nigerians themselves. In this modern world, society is better developed through collective efforts and effective debate of public issues by citizens. The office of the citizens is likely to be the highest in the land so must be involved in every issues in such society It’s also a known fact that some of our public officials are the enemies of this country, so the ideas of forcing dreadful and obnoxious policy down the throats of Nigerians at gun point are unacceptable and not applicable in any democratic dispensation.

9 It seems this administration is more interested in inflicting more tax burden on Nigerians without consideration of their capacity to pay. I wrote an article recently that we can’t tax our way to wealth in Nigeria because tax considerations are applied based on the ability to pay by citizens. We are yet to see any country that is placing more emphasis on taxes as a way to reboot its depressed economy. Besides, over the years , the government has not been responsible to citizens.They can’t provide public water, good roads,public schools, health centres, and others. Even the ones they have been collecting over the years were looted and applied to supporting their ostentatious lifestyles. Obviously, nor matter how we pretend about it,there is a serious trust deficit between the citizens and the government because Nigerians have been disappointed over the years by the government. It would require genieue efforts to restore such confidence and not by coercion.

10 Nigerians woke up to hear about this gigantic 700km coastal road project by the federal government. This project is no doubt ambitious and may serve as a catalyst to our national economy in the future. It’s not that anyone is really against this project up to my knowledge. But while it is desirable to plan for future generations, we must also protect this present generation by allowing them to breathe. It must be noted that without this present generation, there can’t be any future generations. This administration must correct the misconceptions in the public domain that this administration is not interested in the present generation but the next generation. This is the reason why the president hasn’t been able to address the hyperinflation problems in our national economy that has been causing untold hardship to vulnerable Nigerians in the first year of this administration. The passion, fanfare, and vibes accompanying the flagoff of the coastal road project can also attest to why Nigerians are very bitter with this government because there is hunger in the land.

11 More worrisome was the fact that there were many unfinished road projects that were awarded several years ago and are yet to be completed because of the paucity of funds. In some cases,funds were wrongly applied to frivolous projects, including the deployment of #90billiions to subsidise religious tourism to Mecca and Medina in 2024. I also don,t know the rationale behind the reversion to the old national anthem from the current one as if that is our problem. By the way ,a hungry man is an angry man and you and I know that a hungry man will not be willing to sing any national anthem until he is able to quench his hunger. We also have some members of the national assembly who have joined the executive to waste our resources on less important matters. New roads are desirable, but food should naturally be our first priority now. Why shouldn’t we take concrete steps to tame inflation by massive food production,including deploying idle lands in public schools from primary to tertiary levels into farming ? Why can’t we bail out our manufacturing companies like what the US did during the global metdown years back under the former president Barack Obama? Why is it that none of the policies of this administration have added #1 into the pockets of Nigerians but have continued to deplete their pockets to ground zero? Why do we think that all the monetary policies of the government alone can tame inflation without deliberate efforts to trigger mechanised farming that will enable us to maximise our export markets’ potential for foreign earnings?

12 In conclusion, there is something fundamentally wrong with this government, and if nothing is done to ameliorate this problem, the much touted renewed hope agenda of this administration may end in misery and hopelessness. It seems the reward system of APC, and this administration has been abysmally disappointing. You can’t reward members of the opposition with top positions in your government while the teeming members of APC who deployed their personal resources and manpower to secure victory for APC at the last general elections are being left unattended to. Some APC members are seriously aggrieved that members of the opposition parties and those who didn’t believe in the ideology of the party now occupy strategic positions in this administration. The first consequence of this action is that , the enemies within will be frustrating the best public policies of the government because we are just empowering opposition to displace the ruling party with ease at the next election which is already manifesting as Nigerians are currently displeased with some of the policies of this administration which might be the handwork of the enemies within. Secondly, it’s almost certain that unrewarded party members and loyalists who expended their resources to secure victory for APC will work against the party at the next election. No one wants to work without being rewarded. There is no way that policies of government can be communicated and executed by those who didn’t believe in such ideology from the inception. In my view, those who share in the ideology of the party are the best to communicate and execute policies of the party for the benefits of humanity.

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