21 May 2016
Right from the beginning of this year, Nigeria has moved from one economic challenge to the other. From the falling crude oil price, which dragged the value of the Naira down along with it, to the weeks long fuel scarcity, low electricity and power supply, and everything generally affecting the market price of goods and services all over the country. Nigerians can’t seem to catch a break this year 2016. Now with the recent removal of subsidy and nearly double the increase of fuel price, times are set to become even worse.
A ban on the importation of rice is set to take place soon, resulting in the monumental increase in the cost of rice nationwide. This is in addition to the already increased price of food stuffs such as tomatoes which began the moment the fuel became scarce.
While some quarters are tired and frustrated with the current price of fuel, majority see the agreed pump price of fuel as a relief after months of scarcity and astronomic prices and queues at filling stations. The popular general consensus is that so long as the fuel is more accessible and uniform in all stations, it can be managed.
However, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is fighting another battle, calling for an increase in minimum wages and other palliative measures for the Nigerian worker in order for this increase not to greatly affect the livelihood of workers. This is the basis for the nationwide strike that was meant to begin on Wednesday this week.
Although some Nigerians share the same view as the NLC, not every one is of the opinion that a strike will be in the country’s best interest.
It is worthy of note at this point that a house divide on itself cannot stand.
While the NLC is standing on one side of the divide in support of the strike, some other labour unions have pulled away from the strike action, leaving the country divided on which side to support. As the Federal Government and NLC meeting ended in a deadlock on the agreements tabled by the union, it is uncertain just how long this haphazard attempt at a strike action will last.
What is certain is that the already harsh economic times facing Nigeria will not alleviate any time soon. Palliative measures or not, increased minimum wages or not, the country is undergoing one of its fiercest battles ever faced, and victory will only be determined by the collective effort and sacrifice.
It is difficult to imagine that as hard as things are now, they will become worse. But it is better to brace for the impact so nothing will take one by surprise. As we continue to hope for the best, it is only logical to also expect the worse.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.