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A critical look at Tinubu’s controversial policies

The masses in Nigeria have grappled with contentious policies that have left many feeling the pinch of economic strain. Among these are the removal of…

The masses in Nigeria have grappled with contentious policies that have left many feeling the pinch of economic strain. Among these are the removal of petroleum subsidy and the implementation of electricity tariff hike. While these policies are purportedly aimed at promoting fiscal sustainability and economic growth, their implementation has sparked widespread debate and raised questions about their impact on the masses.

It is clear to all that Nigeria is presently at the edge of the precipice. Each day the hardship is biting harder and the situation has pushed many people to take extreme measures, even as bad as taking their own lives.

Partly, the cost of living was driven by reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu when he took office. On the day he was sworn in almost a year ago, he announced that the long-standing fuel subsidy would be ending, declaring, “Fuel subsidy is gone.” This critically forced essential commodities’ manufacturers to increase their prices.

The most recent hardship unleashed on the citizens is the hike in electricity charges.

Arguably, the decisions will force more medium and small-scale factories and shops to close down operations and many Nigerians may lose their jobs.

Sadly, all these measures have not brought any meaningful relief to millions of Nigerians who fall below the poverty line each day.

The present administration’s policies have worsened the economic crisis, leading to widespread hardship and anger. In Simple assessment of the overall, annual inflation is now close to 30 per cent – the highest figure in nearly three decades.

For decades, petroleum subsidy had been a contentious issue in Nigeria. The government provided subsidy to keep fuel prices artificially low, ostensibly to alleviate the financial burden on citizens.

However, the system was rife with corruption and inefficiencies, leading to vast amounts of public funds being squandered. The present government under President Tinubu made the bold decision to eliminate petroleum subsidy, arguing that it was no longer economically viable. While the move is intended to free up resources for investment in critical sectors and reduce the strain on government finances, its implementation has immediate consequences for the average Nigerian. Overnight, fuel prices skyrocketed, leading to a surge in the cost of transportation, food and other essential goods. For low-income families already struggling to make ends meet, the subsidy removal represent a significant blow to their livelihoods.

In addition to the removal of petroleum subsidy, the Nigerian government implemented steep hikes in electricity tariff in a bid to address the longstanding issues plaguing the power sector. The rationale behind the tariff hike is to attract private investment, improve infrastructure and ultimately deliver more reliable electricity services to consumers.

However, the reality has been far from the promised benefits. The electricity tariff hike has hit the average Nigerian hard, with many unable to afford the increased cost of power. For households already grappling with sporadic power outage and inadequate service delivery, the prospect of paying more for electricity has only added insult to injury. Small businesses, which form the backbone of Nigeria’s economy have been particularly hard hit as the higher electricity cost eats into their already slim profit margins.

Beyond the economic implications, the removal of petroleum subsidy and electricity tariff hike have had a profound human cost. Many Nigerians, especially those living in poverty, have been forced to make difficult choices between buying food, paying for healthcare or accessing education. The burden falls disproportionately on the most vulnerable members of society, exacerbating inequality and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

Moreover, the lack of adequate social safety nets means that those hardest hit by these policies have little recourse for assistance. The government’s failure to implement comprehensive support measures has left many Nigerians feeling abandoned and disillusioned with the political establishment.

To this end, Nigeria’s policies regarding petroleum subsidy removal and electricity tariff hike have had far-reaching implications for the masses. While these policies were ostensibly designed to promote fiscal sustainability and improve service delivery, their implementation has come at a significant cost to the average citizen.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with these challenges, it is imperative that policymakers prioritise the needs of the people and implement measures to mitigate the adverse effects of these policies on the most vulnerable segments of society.


Aishatu Ibrahim Mato wrote from the Department of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi. [email protected]

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