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Subsidy Removal Palliatives: N8000 To Feed 12m Vulnerable Nigerians, A Waste — Adedara Oduguwa, PhD



Government sets to dump 9.6 billionaire Naira in the waste bin monthly (#8000 multiply by 12m Nigerians=#9.6b). The proposed new poverty alleviation programme is targeted at the poorest Nigerians, but with significantly insignificant effect on poverty.

In a year, the government would have dumped about 115 billion naira in the waste bin. I believe this is another senseless spending, similar to Prof. Osinbajo’s era of waste in the market money aeon.

Let’s look at it statistically, Nigeria is currently a country of 223.8 million people (Business Day, 2023), with an estimated 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty (National Bureau of Statistics, 2023). Now, Government intends to target 12m of these people, that is, about 9% of the actual people living in poverty in Nigeria.

The average household size in Nigeria is 5.0. In other words, 5 persons per household. A person living within the poverty bracket in Nigeria lives on $2 per day. That’s #777.50 *2=#1,555.

That means, a person living in multidimensional poverty spends #1,555 per day. When you factor this into a household. It means 1,555 * 5= #7,775 (approximately #8000).

Technically, it means, the new government palliatives are set at feeding 9% of 133m extremely poor Nigerians for 5 working days if everyone in a household gets #8000 and a day feeding if a household gets #8000 (one of them getting #8000, means all of them have #8000 to share).

In my view, this new programme is not a palliative to cushion the economy. But an inflationary tool, capable of increasing the money supply with no productive, multiplier effect. In my view, selecting 12 million Nigerians from the pool of 133m is unreasonable, illogical and suspicious.

King Victor Nigeria Enterprises

King Victor Nigeria Enterprises

Why 12million? Who are they? Where do they live? What are the criteria for selecting only 9% of the poorest Nigerians? These questions when not answered make this move subjective. And subjectivity in this case means corruption. Some corrupt Nigerians are about to loot money again!

What should be done:

1. Increase Workers’ Salaries by 500%: Government should be thinking of increasing workers’ salaries to about 500% to meet present realities. In the past, you could fuel your car to Ibadan with only #6000 (to and fro). That’s 42 Litres of Petrol. Today, Petrol is #500 per Litre, when you multiplies this by 42 Litres, it gives #21,000. This is because the Petrol price increased with more than 300%. So, workers Salaries should be increased by 500%.

2. Invest in transportation and subsidise it. The removal of fuel subsidy is a step in the right direction. It technically means removing pleasure (corruption) and replacing it with normalcy (temporal hardship). Although the subsidy regime looks good, it was killing the economy and most previous governments were afraid to touch it. Nigeria cannot continue to dash some corrupt people in Government and Oil/Gas sector #40b per day. For this, I congratulate Mr Tinubu.

Now that we have successfully removed subsidy, the government should now go ahead to invest in transportation, it’s today cheaper to go through public transport than to drive in Nigeria. This will achieve two things; create employment and reduce the cost of living. Government should procure interstate and intrastate buses, and set the price at affordable rates.

3. Food Subsidy: Now that fuel subsidy is removed, food subsidy should be at the forefront of its replacement. Government should invest in feeding Nigerians. This can be done in two ways: Invest in the food supply chain and invest in food production (Agriculture processing). Once the food is affordable, poverty will disappear. Don’t dash out money!

4. Single Digit Loan: Create Single Digit Loans for Nigerians in the informal sector. If you want to fight poverty, take away politics and do the right thing. What is significant and obtainable today is a credit facility that could create more jobs.

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For example, if the Government is targeting 12m people in one year. Government plans should be taken them out of poverty not impoverishing them. If I’m Tinubu, this is how I will plan to do that with my #1 million single credit scheme.

Give #1m to 115,000 people=115b. Realistically, these people can employ 2 others=345,000 people. This is a realistic figure if we must successfully take out Nigerians from multidimensional poverty in years. This is better than spending N115b only to feed 12 million of 133 million people in 60 days (per person) and 12 days (a household) in a year (365 days).

5. Reduce Cost of Government: Spending on public servants (not civil servants) and politicians should be reduced by 500%. This is no longer affordable for a country that has over 50% of its population in multidimensional poverty.

6. Tax Reliefs: Government should give tax reliefs to Agro Allied businesses. This will aid Agricultural product supplies. It’s time to face the problem head-on. Food scarcity and price inflation are caused by the activities of greedy middlemen in the supply chain. Time to stop them is now, before they stop our breathing.

7. Implementation of Price Control Acts and Consumer Protection Laws: Some days back, I proposed to write a propositional bill on this subjects, but as a scholar, I embarked on desk research, only to find out that since 1978 we have been having several Acts on the subjects (price and Consumer protection). The problem is that of non-implementation.

I believe, most of the problems faced today by Nigeria are caused by Nigerians who usually take advantage of a bad situation. Government should go ahead to employ Special Task Force to implement a price control and consumer protection regime. That’s is capable of destroying these economic shylocks that are hell bent destroying our economy.

Government should invite business stakeholders, set prices based on the cost of production, fix consumer goods and services prices and see to its implementation. More than government unfavourable policies, an unregulated price regime is killing Nigerians. It should be stopped!.

King Victor Nigeria Enterprises

King Victor Nigeria Enterprises

Finally, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has started on a good footing, however, dishing out #8000 per household is a policy summersault and perhaps, In my opinion, this is the first error of Mr Tinubu’s Government. We didn’t vote for him to dash out money to some selected unknown few, we are watching and not ready to support another mediocrity.

God bless Nigeria!

Adedara Oduguwa, one of Mr Tinubu’s supporters during the last election writes from Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.

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