New Telegraph

Wage Increase, Palliatives Insufficient To Address Hardship In Nigeria, Babalola, IPMAN Tell FG

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and an energy expert, Engineer Sunday Adebayo Babalola, have said the increment of wages and provision of some measures of rice as palliatives by the Federal and State Governments, are insufficient to address the hardship Nigerians are currently undergoing.

They called for holistic, pragmatic and long-lasting strategies to curb the country’s growing inflation, hunger and other challenges.

They spoke in different interviews with the New Telegraph on Sunday.

Babalola, who is a former Deputy Director of the now-defunct Department of Petroleum Resources, urged both the federal and state governments to provide a good environment for businesses to thrive and for people to showcase their talents and potential.

Babalola said, “I am not happy that there is no job and that there is hardship so much so that people are frustrated and some have died. The federal, state and local governments should provide an environment that will make businesses thrive and help people be self-reliant and even become employers of labour.”

IPMAN Public Relations Officer, Mr Ukadike Chinedu, urged the government to stabilise the naira, create a good environment for foreign investments and make the nation’s refineries functional.

Chinedu said, “The solution is far from palliatives, money given to the local government chairman to share four cups of rice to villages does not make any meaning because the money would have been used and plunged into agriculture.

“The ground nut pyramid had disappeared. Cocoa and palm oil produce have disappeared. These are things that Nigeria was exporting.

“Why do we not invest sufficient money in agriculture and in our health system? Our roads are bad. Most of the spare parts here are fake. Now in our filling stations, independent marketers can not sell one truck of fuel in one month because people can not buy. People buy one litre, two or three litres, unlike before people used to fill their tanks. It is now very expensive to feel a tank which is close to N70,000. What is your salary? Nigeria is retrogressing at 63.

“Increment of workers and salaries will not be the solution. The more you increase salary, the more you inflate the nation. Inflation will occur because when salaries are increased, sellers of different goods and services will also increase their charges and prices.

“We need to produce more oil and get more dollars to sustain our naira. If our naira is $1 to N100, I bet you, our brothers and sisters abroad will come here and stay with us and put their expertise to be able to move the economy well.

“When the currency is dwindling, foreign investors can not come because they can not recoup their investments. They will be afraid that the economy will fail.

“You can not come into Nigeria with $10,000 and you change it to N10 million and next week, they say that your $10,000 is N15 million. You can not recoup it, you have to bring in more money than what you have invested. The government should open doors to foreign investors.

“We should look at how our refineries will be repaired, how modular refineries will be built. Even the state government should go into modular refining and be able to circulate petroleum products in this country. When that happens, a lot of things will come down.”

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