It is no longer news that when faced with difficult socio-economic conditions, Nigerians often resort to desperate measures to cushion the resultant effects.
Little wonder since President Bola Tinubu announced the discontinuation of the petrol subsidy during his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023, and the recent hike in the price of petrol, Nigerians have devised strategies to ameliorate the resultant effects.
For years, the Nigerian government subsidised the price of petroleum products, especially petrol, and kerosene, to alleviate the burden of high costs on consumers.
In the past, the subsidy removal was often met with public outrage and stiff resistance, because it would result in higher fuel prices for consumers which eventually led to protests and demonstrations.
However, such was not the case when President Tinubu stated during his inaugural speech that “fuel subsidy is gone” finally because it (subsidy) could no longer justify its ever-increasing costs.
He said; “We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care, and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.”
Below are 10 things Nigerians are doing to survive the hardships imposed by subsidy removal.
Since the prices of commodities have doubled and income has hardly increased, many Nigerians are beginning to engage in menial jobs, as well as establishing small-scale businesses to generate more income to support their families. This might include street vending, artisanal crafts, or starting small businesses.
No doubt, agriculture plays a significant role in the Nigerian economy, which is why during hard times, many people resort to subsistence farming to provide for their basic needs. Some of the farm produce may be sold to make more income, used as barter, or better still used as an alternative source of feeding for the family.
Seek family support
For most Nigerians, seeking family support in times of dire need is usually one of their most viable options in a bid to ameliorate the hardship they suffer. This sense of community helps to alleviate some of their financial challenges.
Seek spiritual support
In 2016, the Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins, disclosed in an interview that the economic meltdown had seriously affected the church. According to him, many people that came to parish offices to see priests did so with the intention of seeking one form of assistance or the other. The case is the same in recent times as Nigerians have begun to seek financial help from the various churches they attend.
Before civilisation, bartering goods and services was a way to acquire necessities without necessarily using cash. This practice has gradually found its way back into society as Nigerians now make frantic efforts to sustain themselves in the face of the growing hardship.
Though thrift contribution has been in existence before now, because of the current economic realities, more people have begun to participate in informal savings groups or cooperative societies where members pool their money and take turns receiving lump sums, helping them tackle financial needs among other things.
As earlier mentioned, Nigerians often demonstrate resilience by adapting to changing circumstances and being flexible in their approach to emerging economic realities which eventually result in untold hardship.
As difficult as this may seem, during challenging times, some individuals invest in education and skill acquisition to increase their employability or create new opportunities for themselves. This is one strategy many Nigerians have resorted to in recent times to improve their income.
Religious and community support
Religion and community involvement can provide psychological and emotional support during hard times, offering hope and a sense of belonging. This is also one of the things Nigerians are currently involved in to ease the hard times.
When available, Nigerians ensure they tap into whatever form of palliative the government offers as temporary relief for those in need. Currently, mixed reaction has continued to trail Tinubu’s proposed N8,000 palliative for 12 million poor families. However, Nigerians are expectant.
It’s important to remember that every individual’s circumstances are unique, and the strategies they employ to survive difficult times can vary widely. The above points serve as general observations based on the Nigerian context, and not every Nigerian will adopt all these strategies simultaneously.