Realities of the Nigerian Economy and How they Affect the Civil Servants More
By: PETERS Olusegun Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
I was listening to a very old song from a late Nigerian musician, in the song he talks about how the economy is hard and the government is making life difficult for the people by mismanaging resources; this is a song from the 1970’s. This song made me think of the so many Nigerian songs I have heard that talk about how the economy is bad and the government is not making it easier. All these songs about the bad economy and bad governance spread to every Nigerian era except the eras before independence and the eras in the early years of independence. Till this day, we can still point at songs that talk about bad economy and bad governance. The implication of this is that everything happening in Nigeria at this time did not start now, it’s been here since like three eras ego; the songs people of each of these eras were listening to show that this problem had been around and they were aware of it. So thinking Nigeria just got bad would be a wrong thing to think; it’s been bad it only got worse as time went by till we got here that we are now. This is to point out that the cause of the problems we are having now is not this administration, the foundation had been laid by the previous administrations and regimes, this administration is just really committed to building on the failures of the pasts, and it’s all coming together to ruin the economy even more and more.
Although most Nigerians, the civil servants especially, don’t notice that this administration has made them poorer, and that is because they see their incomes as paid to them, not in comparison with foreign exchange; a person who was earning the #18,000 minimum wage in 2013 and a person who is earning the #30,000 minimum wage in 2021 compared, the latter was earning more if the two is converted to Dollars then and now. Not only that, the rate of inflation then and now compared, the person earning #18,000 then was spending lesser of their income on equal needs compared to what the person earning #30,000 spends now. What I’m saying is, consumptions kept the same, if #18,000 was enough to take care of your feeding for a month in 2013, #30,000 cannot take care of it in 2021, as everything has increased in price by at least 80%. The implication of this for any Nigerian is that you would have to increase your income somehow (by working harder for instance) or you cut your expenses (by reducing your consumptions for instance) so your #30,000 would sustain you through the month. Whichever way, it tells on your living standard and the life expectancy. For a civil servant who wants to increase their income, they would have to take more jobs, have side businesses, or enter corruption at their place of work; this explains why we have so many civil servants having small businesses everywhere, and why they now ask for money before they can do anything at their office. Also, thank goodness for Cryptocurrencies, a lot of them now have digital monies that have helped them increase their income somehow. But we should not forget the part where everything boils down to making them corrupt or reducing their life expectancy.
Before now, I used to think, how the government wants us to think, that the people at the bottom of the pyramid are the ones building the Nigerian economy and sustaining it, but looking at it deeply, looking at the laws in Nigeria at the federal and state levels, looking at the taxes and so on, I have realized the people in the middle of the pyramid are the ones baring the weight of the economy, not the people beneath the pyramid at all, and definitely not the few at the top of the pyramid—these ones are just there to exploit the ones in the middle and oppress them to make sure they don’t come up (the policies they make, the laws they make, they activities are mostly for these purposes). The people at the bottom of the pyramid, they are the Nigerians doing the menial jobs, the Nigerians who are mostly living on $1 per day on the average; they have no house they pay taxes on, they have no electricity bills they pay, they have almost nothing going to the government’s purse through them except that they are exploited too by the people in the middle of the pyramid via cheap labour, and except for the indirect taxes they pay on the foods they eat, cloths they wear and so on. So the government or the elites cannot really exploit them. Even as this administration is committed to taking foreign loans the next generations would pay for via taxes and high cost of everything, these people at the bottom of the pyramid cannot be affected so much. The people that would pay back the debts and suffer the bad economic policies this administration has been making are the civil servants and the small scale business people. This is in fact the wrong time to be a civil servant or a small scale business person in Nigeria, as you would be the one who suffers the most all the wickedness and unsmart moves of the government. To chip this in, the policies and laws that would be made in the next few years would make it obvious the elites and government need Nigeria to be a very autocratic and closed state, this is to allow the government and elites be able to exploit, oppress and ruin the freedom of the people more.
Olusegun Peters is a businessman, an investor and a scholar. He is the founder of primerinfotech.com and pec-ng.com. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here