Bloggers in Nigeria







Checking the Rise in Cost of Food in Nigeria

Published March 9th, 2017

The recent constitution of the presidential task force on food security in the country came to all Nigerians as a great relief. The five-man committee which was charged with the responsibility of bringing down the prices of goods and household items that are presently beyond the reach of average Nigerians, to ensure their availability and affordability in country, gave Nigerians who are presently groaning under the heavyweight of severe hunger, suffering and hardship, a causefor great joy. For example, statistics coming from the United Nations show that of the thirty-one poorest nations in the world,where per capita income is below the poverty line,Nigeria ranks first. Similarly, Nigeria takes a frontline position among the poorest nations of the world with poverty and poverty related conditions, which have compelled their citizens to migrate to different parts of the world in search of means of survival. It is no wonder therefore, that fact from the National Bureau of Statistics has it that the inflation rate in the country has hit 18.72%, the highest in recent history of the nation, while nearly 80million Nigerians are jobless with hundreds of thousand job losses occurring on daily basis. Available records apparently reveal that citizens of poor countries have higher chances of indulging in criminal activities and deviant behaviours than well-to-do ones, because as the saying goes, ‘a hungry man is an angry man’. Besides, empirical evidence proved that harsh and negative socio-economic conditions negatively affect human character with universal applicability.

Therefore, it may not be wrong to postulate that the continuous deterioration in the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians is more or less responsible for the continuous rise in the spate of all forms of security challenges and criminality in the country. It would be a right step in the right direction for government to begin to get its priorities right as the first step out of this present economic recession. This explains why poverty alleviation through the reduction of prices of goods and services should be seen as complementary to the current pursuit of peace, security and economic revitalisation.

As the living condition of an ordinary Nigerian continues to dwindle by the day, there is compelling need for the federal government to be reasonably and genuinely committed beyond lips service to the course of poverty alleviation in the country. It is against this disgusting backdrop that the presidential task force should rise up to their challenge by articulating, fashioning and implementing pragmatic socio-economic measures and ways that feasibly and practically bring down the prices of goods and services in the country, so that the long-suffering Nigerians can begin to positively feel the impact of good governance.

There will be no better way of doing this than allowing unhindered inflow of essential food items into the country as well as ensuring the local production of same, until the local production can apparently meet the country’s enormous pressing demand. The productive sector of the economy should be re-invigorated to produce enough for local consumption at affordable prices before outright ban on essential goods. To this end, in addition to providing the enabling environment for both local and private investment, government should also establish more industries and revitalize the ailing ones in order to not only create employment for the teeming unemployed youth but also for the enrichment of its foreign exchange capacity. The agricultural sector should also be sufficiently galvanized, harnessed and endowed with the potentialities to optimally play the role which the much talked about economic diversification mantra bestows on it.

There should be speedy action on the much anticipated upward review of workers’ minimum wage to cushion the harsh economic effect of the geometrical increase in prices of petroleum products and the current unprecedented inflationary trend.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the current effort to stamp out all forms of insurgency, terrorism, militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery, corruption, and other forms of criminality in the country will be effective and result-oriented if those structural socio-economic problems that fuel the propensity to social vices are comprehensively arrested.

According to great philosophers, no government all over the world can lay claim to good governance in spite of its achievements when majority of its citizens are wallowing in abject poverty, despondency and deprivation with socio-economic situation worsening every day and the masses dying of hunger and penury. After all, the hallmark of true democracy is the prosperity and welfare of the masses rather than hardship, hunger and suffering which Nigerians are being fed with today.

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