Nigerians woke up two days ago to the rude shock that the price of Premium Motor
Spirit (PMS) has moved to NlSl.56 per liter according to government pronouncement. Since this year or so the price has moved up and down four times. Economy watchers are likely to suggest that the movement is in response to the pulse of the economy. It is a truism that Nigeria is a mono economy that struggles to survive on the liquid black gold.
Its dependence on oil and gas as the sole major revenue earner has made its economy so vulnerable and manipulable by the vagaries of the economy itself. It must be noted though that in March this yea r, the government indicated that the pump price of petrol would be determined by the market forces of demand and supply. The announcement made by the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company further jolted Nigerian into more shock and anxiety.
Coming at a time the energy sector had just increased the unit of electricity consumed from 22 naira to 66 amounts to an over kill. Reports indicate that in the last 60 days the price of the product moved from 143 to the current price. Feeling the pulse of many Nigerians and their reactions following the increase the general opinion is that the federal government is quite insensitive to the plight of the poor man in the street.
The dynamics playing out in the economy no doubt will transport the incidence of the burden to the man in the street that is unsure of where the next meal will come from. It has been a case of mixed reactions. While the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the ruling party has thrown its support on the increase, the Nigerian Labour Congress as well as many other Nigerians has called on the federal government to withdraw it.
With the announcement prices of commodities and transportation are already hitting the roof top. News Echo does not understand the wisdom of the federal government in adding more salt to an injury. Coming at a time the citizens are still heavily weighed down by the effects of the global pandemic it is difficult to convince anyone that the government meant well for the citizens. The expectations are that the government should be more concerned with alleviating the sufferings of the masses.
There is general disillusionment among the people orchestrated by lack of infrastructure to support life, poor medical facilities, increased price of foods, lack of payment of salaries, increased insecurity, etc.
Survival in this country now is a big drag and many have lost their lives as a result of unfriendly government policies. Disappointedly, the government has not lived up to the expectations of adding value to life among the populace.
The recent price increase in electricity tariff and petroleum products has grave implications for the socio-economic stability of the country. Citizens who will be further knocked off by the effects will seek any means of survival, just to keep their heads above water. It is not unlikely that we are going to witness increased crime which will further aggravate the social security.
News Echo is further disappointed that the government made the pronouncement without providing any palliatives to the effects of the resulting consequences. We are further dismayed that the expected resultant increase expected from the cash flow will further be whittled down by the corrupt tendencies of public officials. It is heart rending to remark that even with the much trumpeted effort of the government to fight corruption government does not appear to be winning the war.
The mind blowing revelations unearthed recently in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contract scams running into trillions all of which are proceeds of oil does not convince anyone that the interests of the common man in the street is anywhere near the concern of the authorities. It smacks of sheer wickedness and greed that those we have entrusted our destiny in their hands are same people who are perpetrating evil on the people.
The NDDC corruption scandal is only one out of the behemoth of corrupt tendencies that characterize our public institutions. There are other numerous institutions that are weighed down heavily by similar experiences. We are convinced that the government can save a lot of money by plugging the loopholes. All other
leakages arising from frivolous public spending and ostentatious lifestyle of public officers and promotion of activities that do not add value to people should be curbed to free up funds.
Nigerians have made immense sacrifice and should be spared a breathing space. The lives of Nigerians matter as well. It is our candid view that the government should reverse the increase or create palliatives to whittle down the effect of the increase on the populace. Government must do all in its powers to cater for the common good of the people.