A chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi, has criticised the Federal Government for failing to address the economic woes of Nigerians since the removal of petrol subsidy.
Sowunmi, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Monday, January 29, accused President Bola Tinubu’s administration of running the economy on palliatives instead of increasing workers’ salaries and boosting productivity.
He added that the naira has been losing its value and the fiscal authorities had no clue how to stabilise the currency. He described the currency as “a joke” even to those trading in Cefas in the West African francophone countries.
“You can’t run a big economy on palliatives, especially when you are running the palliatives on wholesales and not retail,”Sowunmi stated.
The PDP chieftain urged the FG to adopt a sustained salary increase for civil servants instead of relying on wholesale palliatives.
“Let me tell you what would have happened if they had been getting those increased salaries in a sustained manner, the private sector would have followed up to keep their workforce, that money would have gone back into the market and you would have seen the economy growing,” he said.
Nigeria is facing a severe economic crisis, with an inflation rate of 28.92%, food inflation at 33.93%, an interest rate of 18.75%, an unemployment rate of 33.3%, and an exchange rate at over N1400/US$ in the parallel market. The price per litre of petrol has also soared to over N600, following the removal of the subsidy in May 2023.
However, the Federal Government has defended its economic policies, saying they are aimed at diversifying the economy, reducing dependence on oil, and attracting foreign investment. It has also announced various palliative measures, such as cash transfers, food distribution, and tax relief, to cushion the impact of the economic hardship on the citizens.
Many Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s performance, saying the palliatives are inadequate, poorly targeted, and prone to corruption.
Several civil society organisations have also protested the rising cost of living, insecurity, and poor infrastructure in the country.