Disturbed by the harsh economic situation in Nigeria, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation has called on the Federal Government to roll out food subsidies and social safety nets programmes to cushion the present hardship in the country.

The non-governmental group, which also called for the implementation of other measures include review of wages, inflation control, among others, said the removal of fuel subsidies has inflicted major pain, hence, the need for urgent intervention.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Director General of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Engr Abubakar Gambo Umar on Sunday.

It reads in full : “The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation is deeply concerned about the current state of the Nigerian economy. We believe it is our responsibility to address the gravity of the situation and offer our recommendations for a way forward.

The current economic situation in Nigeria is undeniably grim. Inflation has reached an all-time high of 29.9 percent, leading to a severe crisis where citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to afford basic necessities, such as foodstuffs, as prices of essential commodities have become beyond the reach of the ordinary Nigerian, exacerbating the already challenging circumstances. Food inflation is 35. 41 per cent.

The removal of petroleum subsidy has indeed caused hardships for the population, as it has led to an increase in fuel prices and subsequent price hikes in other sectors.

The rise in prices of fuels and transportation costs, coupled with the drop in the supply of electricity, have further compounded the burden on the meagre earnings of Nigerians. It is disheartening to note that the wages of millions of Nigerians have not been increased, leaving them vulnerable to the inflationary pressures that have plagued the nation.

It is crucial to acknowledge the increasing restlessness among citizens, which has manifested in the form of protests in some states. These protests highlight the frustration and dissatisfaction of the Nigerian people with the current economic situation.

Furthermore, the closure of borders has also contributed to the current economic woes in Nigeria. The halt in trans-border economic activities, such as the trade in grains, livestock, and other commodities, has had a negative impact on various sectors of the economy. This has led to a decrease in supply, an increase in prices, and a disruption of the agricultural value chain.

Additionally, the alarming state of insecurity in the country has significantly hampered agricultural activities. Farmers are unable to cultivate their lands, resulting in a decline in agricultural output. This situation not only exacerbates food insecurity but also contributes to the overall economic instability.

In light of these challenges, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation recommends the following:

1. Targeted Social Safety Nets: Implement short-term measures such as targeted social safety net programs to provide assistance to vulnerable groups directly affected by the removal of subsidies. This can include cash transfers, food subsidies, or other forms of assistance to help alleviate the immediate hardships of the most vulnerable.

2. Urgent Intervention in the form of inflation control through price stabilization mechanisms:

The government should prioritize implementing measures to curb inflation, such as adopting monetary policies that promote stability and price control mechanisms that ensure affordability for essential commodities. Price Stabilization Mechanisms such as price ceilings or targeted subsidies to ensure that essential commodities remain affordable for low-income households are necessary. This can help mitigate the immediate impact of subsidy removal on the cost of living.

3. Income Increase for Nigerians:

It is imperative for the government and relevant stakeholders to initiate policies that address the long-standing issue of stagnant wages. Regular salary reviews and adjustments should be implemented to alleviate the financial burden on the citizens.

4. Strengthening of Security:

The government must take immediate and decisive actions to tackle the prevailing insecurity in the country. This includes intensifying efforts to combat insurgency and banditry, ensuring the safety of farmers and their farms, and restoring peace in affected regions.

5. Support for Agriculture: Special attention should be given to the agricultural sector, as it holds significant potential for economic recovery and food security. The government should provide necessary support to farmers, including access to credit, improved infrastructure, and modern farming techniques.

6. Border Closure: it is crucial for the government to carefully evaluate the effects of border closures on the economy and explore alternative measures to address the concerns that warrant their closures in the first place. It is necessary to mitigate the negative consequences of border closures and foster a more vibrant and resilient economy, especially in the Northern states.

7. Reviews of Nigeria’s Monetary and Fiscal Policies:

The Central Bank of Nigeria and other regulatory authorities must review and adopt “home – grown” monetary and fiscal policies that take into cognizance our peculiarities as a nation to control inflation, reducing excessive government spending, controlling budget deficits, and increasing revenue generation.

8. Exchange Rate Policies: Governments should adopt policies to lower and maintain a stable exchange rate, which can help manage import costs and reduce inflationary pressures.

The Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation stands ready to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including the government, the private sector, and civil society, to implement these recommendations and work towards the economic revitalization of Nigeria.”



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