Inflation and Unemployment: How Do We Fight Back?
Have you walked into a local food market in Nigeria recently? You’ll find that you have to spend a lot more than your initial budget or you’re leaving with less than you planned to get. While privileged households may not notice the problem, it is a huge burden with a major impact on the lives of the country’s 62 million working population.
State of Things
Insecurity, inflation and unemployment are some of the problems that plague Nigeria, holding millions down in poverty. A recent report from the World Bank says the number of poor Nigerians is expected to increase to 95.1 million in 2022.
It’s been a tough past few years for Nigerians, with the average person feeling the effect of the economic meltdown. The majority of Nigerian workers earn a monthly minimum wage of 33,000 Naira. After taking into account the high cost of rent, transportation, and electricity, you’ll find that it’s difficult to make ends meet.
Are you struggling to get through the month on your salary? It’s likely not because you’re overspending. You’re just feeling the hardship of the economy. Living in Nigeria costs 5.5 times more than the average income of the country’s workers.
You’ll have also noticed that the skyrocketing cost of food is a major swallower of your earnings. This is because Nigeria’s economic inflation has been on a steady rise. In April, the country’s inflation rate soared to 16.8%. Accompanying the rising inflation is a continuous increase in the cost of basic amenities such as education, transportation, housing, light, internet, hospital bills, etc.
Globally, Nigerians spend the highest portion of their income on food. This means that after most people work their 9 to 5s for the month, they end up pouring the majority of their earnings into feeding. This leaves little room for the management of other expenses like house rent and clothes, not even mentioning the children’s school fees and other miscellaneous costs.
If living in Nigeria is that difficult for the employed population, imagine what living without a job feels like. Even though every graduate expects to leave school and secure a well-paying job, a good portion of Nigeria’s graduates has been left without a gainful source of employment.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate currently stands at 33%. This is even more appalling when you consider the fact that 40% of the working population are above the age of 34. It has gotten to a stage where people have been forced to learn skills that they have no interest in, just to make ends meet. Those who decide not to, often turn to illegal means to secure their daily bread.
To avoid being one of 5 million Nigerians at risk of hunger, many have been forced to cut their expenditures on other essential services like health, electricity, and transportation. Some who struggle to cope have resorted to collecting money from predatory loan sharks.
Most of these lenders capitalize on the desperations of Nigerians to charge exorbitant interest rates on money borrowed. Reports show that some companies charge as high as 60% interest rates on monthly loans. Unable to keep up, many borrowers are forced into a continuous borrowing and repaying cycle.
Sometimes the borrowers even end up disgraced. A Nigerian, Segun Wuraola was in dire need of money to support his family when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020 and he sought help from a loan shark. Unfortunately, he was unable to pay back the money at the stipulated time, and his account was blacklisted. The loan sharks also called several family members and friends, accusing him of being a scammer.
Segun was one of many Nigerians who was not willing to go down the illegal lane but not everyone wants to play the good guy. With no solution from the government, we are beginning to see a terrible ripple effect of the crumbling economy.
If you don’t give people a method of sustenance, they’ll be forced to make one and sometimes, their methods may not be good. This has been the case in the country as the economic situation has thrown several areas into chaos with insecurity. The past few years have seen Nigeria experience a rise in insecurity, mostly coming in the form of banditry, kidnapping, and even ritual killing.
According to SBM, more than 10.9 billion was paid in ransom money to Nigerian kidnappers between 2011 and 2020. That figure has continued to rise over the past 2 years, with kidnapping becoming endemic in the country.
A Nigerian man, Mr. Ado. recently narrated, to BBC, how his two daughters, wife, and mother were kidnapped at different times. He had to pay 11 million Naira collectively, to buy their freedom.
The northern part of the country has been hit the hardest by terrorism in the form of bandits attacking villages. Each attack results in more lives lost, property destroyed or stolen, and several people have been displaced.
You’d be mistaken if you believe that other areas of the country are safe. Quite a few youths have resorted to cybercrime (yahoo) after being hit by the hardship of the economy. As if that is not bad enough, some even turn to diabolical means to increase their chances of getting money from their victims.
Earlier this year, we also got the story of a suspected internet fraudster, Afeez Olalere, who confessed to killing his younger brother for a money ritual. There have been several other terrible cases like this, as the country transcends into a ‘eat or be eaten’ state.
Read also: Goodluck Jonathan Missing From APC Presidential Aspirants List
What’s the Solution?
With the situation in the country, it appears that the only way to remain sustainable is by finding additional sources of income. Many people have resorted to side hustles such as cryptocurrency and forex trading, but even those don’t always provide the desired result.
In light of the current situation, Naija FM is set to deliver an earning solution to ease some of your burdens by helping you earn some money. With Naija FM’s upcoming challenges, you can create an extra income stream from the comfort of your home by showcasing your talent.
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