NewsWest AfricaAnger mounts in Nigeria over state of the economy


Posted on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 16:53

Anger mounts in Nigeria over state of the economy

By Reuters

A vendor sells newspapers, including stories of Buhari's medical leave for ill health, Nigeria,May 8, 2017. Photo:Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPANigerians say they are 'fed up' with the current economic situation, even as the government makes efforts to pull Africa's biggest economy out of recession.


Nigerian entrepreneur, Harrison Akadidi runs a PR firm that books celebrities for high profile events.

It's an expensive business, charging up to 3000 US dollars for local personalities and up to 100,000 for international ones.

When Akadidi started two years ago, no price was too high but by October last year he went from 20 bookings per month to seven.

He has put off the business for a while because he doesn't have enough money to secure the celebrities.

"Early 2016, we had a… you know a down record of bookings coming in. When you do a research on that, you realise a lot of people can't actually afford you know to book these celebrities like they used to in 2015 backwards you know and not just that, for organisations like us where we get to pay your own bills in dollars it's just incredible for us because that way the bill just goes up for us and not just, you know… it goes like three times the regular fee that we usually pay," the young entrepreneur said.

It is not just only businesses that are struggling.

Hundreds of residents recently marched through Lagos to express their frustration over a sputtering economy, lack of jobs and a soaring cost of living.

Nigeria is battling a currency crisis brought on by low oil prices, which tipped its economy into recession and created chronic dollar shortages.

Annual inflation is at 17% and the United Nations estimates that 70% of the population live on a dollar a day - a situation that has prompted widespread anger the handling of the economy.

Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari, has been on medical leave in Britain since May 7, his second prolonged absence this year.

Scepticism over Economic Recovery and Growth plan

Buhari's medical condition is unclear.

Nigeria's vice president Yemi Osinbajo is standing in.

The acting president signed the 2017 budget into law last week, with Abuja planning record spending to bring Nigeria out of recession.

Nigeria unveiled a sweeping economic recovery plan in March, including measures to reduce its dependence on oil and to relax foreign exchange restrictions.

But economists have expressed scepticism over the government's scheme known as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, saying it amounts to little more than a wishlist rather than a roadmap offering concrete solutions.

Last year, the Nigerian government said it planned to make cash payments to poor people of about $25 per month to try to ease poverty and stimulate the economy - a plan that would cost a total of about $300 million per annum, but did not say how these benefits would be funded.

The country's big oil revenues have enriched only an elite, but account for 70% of state revenue.

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