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‘Our salaries can’t feed us anymore’ – Nigerians workers lament high cost of food items, others

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The standard of living of an average Nigerian under President Muhammadu Buhari government is steadily declining every day as prices of food continue to skyrocket daily.

Without any doubt, the current increase in prices of goods and services is tied to low farming activities, low productivity as a result of the worsening insecurity, especially in the Northern region. Many farmers flee their farms out of fear for their lives as bandits, Boko Haram, and herdsmen attack communities and kidnap families.

The current realities are forcing families into hunger, as an average Nigerian who could afford to feed three times in a day are now struggling to feed twice or less, because of the economic situation in the country.

On a monthly basis, prices of food items appear to be increasing in major cities in Nigeria. For example, the prices of flour products such as ‘bread’, grains such as ‘rice, beans, garri’, and regular beverages have experienced unimaginable hike in price within the last one month if compared with previous months within the year.

DAILY POST findings reveal that, “the price of the regular ready to eat can fish ‘Sardine’ sold at N300 now goes for N600 at the market and sell at N700 in supermarkets across the country. A bag of beans sold at N30,000 early last month ‘September’ now costs between N50,000 and N100,000. Also, sachets of beverages (e.g, milk, milo) sold at N700 now sells at N1200, cooking gas 5kg sold at N2000 now sells at N3000”. Bread that used to sell for between N350 to N400 now sells for N700. Almost all the prices of consumables have doubled within the last 1 month.

Millions of working-class Nigerians can no longer live a decent life on their income not to talk of those earning lower than the minimum wage. The question that brothers most Nigerians is, “how does a Nigerian who earns a minimum wage of N30,000 survive with the current hike in the price of food? How do families feed?” Sadly, these questions remain unanswered.

The country’s national minimum wage is N30,000 per month, mainly applicable to civil servants as some private sectors pay as low as N15,000 to workers. Also, many state governments are yet to implement the new minimum wage.

DAILY POST interacted with some Nigerians who expressed their sadness over the situation, calling on the government to act immediately.

A worker simply identified as Gloria said it’s been hard for her to feed as a spinster since the change in price.

She said, “I used to eat three times a day with breakfast but now I just manage to feed twice. During Goodluck time, I used to eat three times but now I eat once, my salary increase doesn’t even matter because I could afford more things years ago than I can now, but I spend way higher.”

Mr Dapo, a civil servant, lamented that he has two kids and is finding it hard to cater to them. He said, “I go to work every day and I cannot boast of my salary taking care of my family anymore. The lunch pack for my kids has reduced because even biscuits have increased. The other day, I went to buy gas for N10kg, it has increased too. My wife keeps complaining that the money she uses to feed the family for a month can barely sustain us for two weeks. What does Buhari want us to do? Is this the change he promised us? I don’t think we have anything like average Nigerians, it’s either you’re poor or rich under this Buhari government.”

One Mr Akin who works at a private company in Wuse 2 lamented that these days, he misses lunch break at work twice in a week because of the increase in prices of stuff in order not to be stranded before the end of the month. He said, “I wouldn’t lie to you madam, things are becoming worse oh! Imagine lunch I buy every day at N500 is now N700 and its even in smaller quantities. The woman in the canteen does not even sell N100 plantain; it starts from N200. How does Buhari want responsible workers to live a good life? As a young man, now I can’t even think of having a girlfriend not to talk of taking her on a date because of how expensive things are. This government just wants us to struggle and not be able to even live a decent life. I don’t even know what the government is doing to stop this, but they need to help us regulate these prices. We can’t live like this till 2023. Please help us talk to them, at least they’ll listen to the media”.

Recall that on October 1st, President Buhari during his Independence Day speech blamed the middlemen for the rise in food prices, stating that the middlemen have been buying and hoarding these essential commodities for profiteering. He directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to rehabilitate the National Food Reserve Agency and also work with security agencies, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, and the National Assembly to find a lasting solution to these disruptive and unpatriotic hoarding activities.

The president said, “To further enhance food production, we have completed several new dams and are in the process of rehabilitating several River Basin Development Authorities to enhance groundwater supply for rainfed agriculture as well as surface water for irrigation agriculture”.

The House of Representatives, days ago also set up a special committee to conduct an investigative hearing with all critical stakeholders in the country and carry out the root cause analysis on the rising cost of food items.

But if the government fails to find a lasting solution to insecurity issues such as bandits attack in communities, herdsmen attacks on farmers and villages, the prices of food will continue to rise, and the unemployment rate will increase.

The current realities have caused businesses to shut down over the cost of production. Experts believe the trend has an adverse effect on unemployment rate which is already high.

DAILY POST observes that unemployment chain is already too high but the number of companies leaving Nigeria due to insecurity and lack of investors is pushing more Nigerians into unemployment while universities still churn out graduates.

Investors will consider countries where the security of their staff, property is guaranteed.

DAILY POST

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Sanusi: I warned Buhari govt its policies will destroy Nigeria’s economy

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Former Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II

Former Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said he warned the President Muhammadu Buhari administration that its economic policies would destroy Nigeria’s economy.

He also lamented the current state of the nation, saying Nigeria would  not be where it is if public office holders had taken their job seriously.

The former emir, who spoke in Lagos at a stage play titled “Emir Sanusi: Truth in Time”, said every inherent danger in the economic polices he had warned the administration when he newly came on board in 2015/2016 was what the country was facing currently.

The former Kano Emir recalled how he wrote a confidential letter to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor voicing his strong concerns about the economy.

“If every president, every governor, every minister, every commissioner took their job seriously, this country will not be where it was,” he stated.

“If people are willing to be ministers, commissioners, governors and presidents for eight years, and not tell us how they have improved our lives, we have a problem.”

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He charged politicians to be accountable to the people.

Sanusi asked Nigerians to take charge of the country, he said Africa’s most populous nation will not move forward until actual steps are taken.

The ex-CBN governor also spoke on why he usually criticises government policies he found not to be good enough, saying what many do not know is that he would have advised the officials privately for months before going public.

On the current administration, Sanusi said he warned the Federal Government of the dangers of its policies in 2015, especially how it would destroy the economy.

“With the current administration, I spent the whole of 2015 and 2016 speaking to everybody who should be communicated to, and telling them that the economic policies they were pursuing were going to destroy the Nigerian economy.

“It was only when that failed that I spoke publicly, and we had to speak. Now the question which everybody is asking is should an Emir speak? The answer is yes and it depends on what you are speaking on,” he added.

According to Sanusi, he served as Chief Risk Officer at the United Bank for Africa, at First Bank, and also as CBN governor; as Emir of Kano for six years.

He stated that he would be ungrateful to God if he expressed regret or sadness over his removal as emir despite his position in life.

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Nigeria, three others top World Bank debtors’ list

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed

Rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.

This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

India, which is still the first on the list reduced its IDA debt stock from $22bn in the previous fiscal year to $19.7bn, followed by Bangladesh from $18.1bn to $18bn.

It is followed by Pakistan which cut its debt from $16.4bn to $15.8bn, and lastly, Vietnam, which went down the list to fifth position, from $14.1bn to $12.9bn.

Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia. The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.

The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.

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The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.

Economists have also raised concerns over the rising debt profile of the Federal Government.

The Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader of PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, expressed his agreement with the World Bank on the high cost of debt servicing.

He said, “I agree with the World Bank. Although the debt to GDP ratio is not too high, if you think about the debt service cost to revenue ratio, it is already over 70 per cent. That’s when you know it’s costly.

“Nigeria borrows at double-digit, and even when we borrow in dollars, the rates are very high and then you devalue the naira and the cost of servicing the debt in naira goes up because it is dollar-dominated debt.

“Put all of that together, and you can easily say to yourself that even though our debt to GDP ratio is very low, our cost of borrowing is unsustainable because it is very high, and therefore, make it very costly.”

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, also criticised the increasing borrowing tendency of the government, urging the officials to re-consider other ways of generating revenue for the country.

According to Moghalu, it was also not reasonable to borrow for infrastructural development as the government could expand the public-private partnership options for such development.

In a document by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, recently obtained by our correspondent, the DMO stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.

According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”

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Saudi Explains Why Lightning Can Only Strike Crescent Moon on Holy Mosque’s Towers

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The Holy Mosque in Saudi (Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al-Nabawi) has explained in a tweet on Sunday night why lighting only strikes the Crescent Moon on the clock tower.

The mosque, through its handle @theholymosques stated that the lightning only strikes the crescent on the clock tower because of the Makkah clock which consists of 20 automatically extending lightning conductors and 800 fixed rods to protect the watch and lights from lightning.

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“The lightning only strikes the crescent moon on top of the clock tower because the Makkah clock contains 20 automatically extending lightning conductors and 800 fixed rods to protect the watch and lights from the lightning.”
The Holy Mosque attracts millions of worshippers annually.

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