In the wake of the removal of petrol subsidy in Nigeria, citizens have displayed remarkable resilience and ingenuity in facing the challenges imposed by soaring fuel prices. With the elimination of the subsidy, which led to a surge in petrol prices from N160 to N510 per liter on May 29, 2023, the country’s economic situation has worsened, leaving citizens grappling to adapt to the new realities.
The removal of petrol subsidy has significantly impacted the cost of goods and services, exacerbating the already high inflation rate of 22.77 percent. As the nation’s currency experienced devaluation during the previous administration, the purchasing power of the people has further diminished, pushing essential commodities like food, transportation, and medicines beyond the reach of many.
The escalating energy costs have added to the burden, especially in a country facing acute electricity challenges. With the nation’s grid electricity capacity plummeting to 5,000 to 4,000 MW, approximately 92 million Nigerians continue to live without access to electricity, making Nigeria one of the nations with the lowest power access globally.
As a result of these challenging circumstances, Nigerians have rallied together, embracing innovative and pragmatic survival measures. With income stagnating and a minimum wage of N30,000, citizens have been forced to cut back on their energy consumption. Many have started to minimize the use of power-generating sets and appliances, using them sparingly and during off-peak hours to reduce expenses.
Public transportation has witnessed a surge in demand as citizens seek cost-effective alternatives to fuel-guzzling private vehicles. Streets in major cities like Lagos, Mile 2, Alakija, CMS, Oshodi, and Agege now experience reduced traffic congestion as more individuals opt for public transport over personal cars.
Nigerians have also shown resilience by diversifying their income streams, engaging in farming, or taking on additional jobs to augment their earnings. Such measures have helped some individuals weather the storm of economic challenges and maintain their livelihoods.
While the government has proposed palliative measures, including distributing N8,000 to 12 million people over six months, citizens express skepticism about the effectiveness of these measures to alleviate the growing poverty levels and social inequality. Many believe that more comprehensive and sustainable solutions are needed to address the profound economic impacts of petrol subsidy removal.
Despite the hardships faced, Nigerians remain steadfast in their determination to overcome the economic downturn. They emphasize the need for the government to take urgent and substantial steps in addressing the crisis and providing adequate support to citizens during these trying times.
As the nation navigates through these challenges, the collective resilience and resourcefulness of Nigerians stand as a testament to their unwavering spirit in the face of adversity. While uncertainties persist, the hope for a brighter and more prosperous future remains alive, fueled by the resilience of the Nigerian people.