By Prince Justice Jadesola Faloye
In a democracy, constructive critical appraisers start work the same time a president is sworn in. The removal of fuel subsidy is a good policy but it’s implementation is woeful. Fuel scarcity and price increases are the first fruit of President Tinubus ‘victory’. It was gross information mismanagement to announce the removal of oil subsidies in an inauguration speech, especially since it wasn’t with immediate effect. This will spur inflation in food and consumer goods across the board, unfortunately dippimg more people in abject poverty without the necessary social security nets and palliative measures. Tinubu should have known better that immediately you announce a future price increase of any commodity, hoarding and prices increases occur everywhere in the world. Economic policies should have a human face and brain.
With this obvious socioeconomic insensitivity, Tinubu has shown that he is a continuation of the socioeconomic insensitivity of the Buhari APC government. If Tinubu was renewed hope of bringing a new type of responsible governance, he would have waited a few weeks to study and allievate the social impact of such a monumental policy which the outgoing government knowingly proposed on its way out. If it was any other party that came into power, the wise move would have been to revisit the issue and not blindly follow a known socially irresponsible government.
Then again, some would argue that it wasn’t an oversight or mistake, but this is how Tinubu has been known to increase the tax or debt burden on poor Lagosians, without any means or sensitivity test. It’s on record how he stubbornly introduced tolls on roads built with government money. He ignored the cries of agony of traders and artisans against various multiple taxation schemes, without any corresponding social benefits. We have seen videos of Tinubu advocating reducing the disposal income of the poor and SME (small and medium enterprises) by increasing taxes, from which he takes a percentage through Alpha Beta.
In addition to unjust taxes and removal of subsidies, his announcement of marketing boards should send shivers down the spine of the agricultural sector. In Lagos, Tinubu organized the informal sector not for increased production or social benefits but solely to provide the bulk of his taxation and IGR drive, and now he has proposed the reintroduction of a failed Marketing boards policy that resulted in politicians milking poor farmers for political funds. Is this not the nationwide spread of his Agberocracy and economics whereby he will extort farmers with multiple taxation collected by an agbero Marketing board.
Marketing boards of the sixties and seventies were blamed for the destruction of our rural agricultural sector and mass rural to urban migration, since it was obvious that the city dwellers were making more from their agricultural produce like cocoa than the farmers in the rural areas. This brought an end to groundnut pyramids and cocoa rich farmers until President Ibrahim Babaginda started the slow liberalization of our agriculture sector, enabling farmers to enjoy their full profits. Over the years, our agriculture sector has grown with more informed and financially able farmers. No informed investor wants to engage his funds in a market controlled by the government. However Tinubu wants to return us to the era of marketing boards, instead of further aiding private market structures for finance, seedlings and fertilizers.
The pertinent question, away from empty political rhetoric, is what percentage of our youths want to go into rural peasant agriculture. Agriculture in developed nation is a bigman business like Dangotes. Pushing agriculture as the greatest employer and mainstay of an economy is colonial slave plantation mentality that has never uplifted any Black nation.
It is only though industrialization that we can stimulate enough employment for our teeming millions of unemployed youth. Unfortunately, when one reads through President Tinubu’s inauguration speech, it is obvious that he and his team have no idea of how to uplift the Nigerian economy through industrialization. The Oldman is basically focused on the improved exploitation of the colonial economy, especially the food, beverages and tobacco that accounts for over 70% of our manufacturing sector. The Iron and steel subsector, the foundation of industrialization, currently accounts for less than 5% of our manufacturing production. President Tinubu is unaware that it is the emergency building of a railway complex, known to have the highest employment multiplier effects, that can stimulate heavy industrialization.
Throughout the world, building railway complexes precedes industrial and technological development simply because a railway network is the largest iron/steel and chemical framework to start the process of innovation that births technological advancement. Just as he took 24yrs to build a mere 16 kilometers of rail, the same time span USA used to build 14000km of rail that launched their industrial revolution, Tinubu is unaware that he needs to urgently change the colonial economy constricted by the North to South railway system, to a self sustaining economy with three West to East lines – Lagos-Calabar, Ilorin to Yola and Sokoto to Maiduguri to reinstate our civilizational economy before the advent of the British.
It appears Tinubu’s Lagos model of weaponizing poverty is continuing and he will only focus on increasing control and taxing of our agriculture sector, of which he will claim a percentage through his Alpha Beta, to finance his political empire. Hopefully this is not a one chance bus that might end up being Buhari ProMax. As Yoruba say, ati kekere lati n pitan iroko, we hail iroko tree from scrubs, so these anti-people policies on the first day of Tinubus presidency shows what to expect for the next few years, unless the Judiciary grabs the wheel before we plunge off the cliff into socioeconomic hell. The unserious and not ready for governance complain it’s too early to critic the government, but We won’t wait until we are pushed off the cliff.
Hey, been here since morning, Emilokan to buy fuel oo!