As if to echo President Muhammadu Buhari, reactions on the emergence of the country from recession, Nigerians are demanding better living conditions as proof that the nation is really out of recession.
A cross section of Nigerians sounded out on their views about the issue were calling on the Federal Government to reboot the economy and make jobs available so that the current hardship would be a thing of the past.
Recall that President Buhari said on on Tuesday that the real impact of coming out recession will be better felt when ordinary Nigerians experience a change in their living conditions.
“Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done.” He waqs quoted as saying.
Daily Sun went to town and got people’s views on what coming out of recession meant to them.
A trader on Vietnam and China wears in Alaba International Market, Lagos, Gift Ebere Onwuzuruigbo said it is too early to announce the exit of recession when the impact is not felt by them.
His words: “It is too early to blow the trumpet of the exit of recession while the prices of goods are still high. It has also not affected foreign exchange and so importation is still low. It will still take up to one year for things to normalize. So, it is at that time that people will be celebrating the exit. The government should have allowed that time to come before rolling out the drums.
“One thing about life is that if a woman is pregnant, it will get to a time the pregnancy will not be hidden. So, they (government) should have allowed us to feel the impact before they announced it.
“Business is still low. People are not buying and this has a direct impact on us. Before recession, I was travelling abroad every two weeks. For two months now I have not travelled out.”
A vegetable seller at Maza-Maza, Lagos, Mrs Ngozi Akaraiwe, told Daily Sun that she used to buy 10 ‘heads’ of vegetable. But “now everything don spoil. We no dey sell like before. People no dey buy again”. Every effort to let her know that Nigeria has exited recession fell on deaf ears because she didn’t seem to understand what is recession. All she knows is that there is hardship everywhere.
This reporter wanted to buy a small Bible from a teenage girl who gave her name simply as Iquo, at a shop in Ikeja. Marvelled at the price of the Bible, the lady simply told the reporter: “it is change” This means that the change of government has brought the hike in prices.
Eugenia Obienyi, a nurse at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, said there is no sign of the recession anywhere to convince people.
“My take on it is that we have not seen anything for the government to have said that we have exited from recession. The poor man on the street is still hungry, we are still lagging behind in terms of infrastructure, prices of food items are still skyrocketing, so many people including doctors have not been paid salaries as workers are still being owed, even ASUU is on strike. When a country cannot meet up with the needs of the masses, I then wonder why the government said we are out of recession. If the government say that, it means they are looking at it from another point of view. We have not seen anything yet, so we remain hopeful that we emerge out of recession soon enough so that it can translate to the various sectors of the economy.
Mr. Ajayi Fapetu, an unemployed graduate, told Daily Sun in Lekki, Lagos, that he was not impressed with the story that Nigeria is out of recession. According to him, it is when it translates to a better standard of living that the issue can make sense to him.
His words: “ What is coming out of recession means to me when I have not got job for the past eight years after my youth service? To me, I don’t believe all these nonsense about Nigeria getting out of recession. It is when I am able to secure good job, feed myself and live comfortably that I believe that Nigeria is out of recession. Period!”.
A private school teacher in Egbeda Lagos, Mr Abel Irabor, asked the Federal Government to reflate the economy to enable Nigerians get money to feed themselves. According to him, there is hunger in the land and government should do something about that. That is the only way to convince the citizenry that Nigeria has exited recession:
Hear him: “ When I heard the news that we are out of recession, I was very happy. It means that, at least, there would be a change from the current hardship we are passing through. My advice for the Federal Government now is to ensure that they make money available so that people would be able to feed and buy things they need. Let me tell you my brother. There is hunger everywhere; to feed now is a big headache to many people. So if government releases money and people who are being owed backlog of salaries are paid, the economy will be reflated.
And people would be convinced that the nation is truly out of recession. That is my opinion”..
Mrs Rashedat Osho, a provision trader at Olugbede Market, Egbeda, translated recession to mean no sales. She was optimistic that since recession is over, sales would boom again.
“For some times now, nobody was buying things; the market was not moving.People complained that there was no money. The recession really affected people. It was only the food stuff sellers that are making business. Now since they said no more recession, I believe there would be sales again and the economy would be better.”
Recently,the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, chief Audu Ogbe, was quoted as saying: “We are not happy that many Nigerians cannot buy food.We have no shortage of food anywhere in the country.But the prices are a bit high”.
He explained that some factors that led to the high prices of food items in the country include bad road network to transport food items frm one point to another.
“Roads are bad and trasporters will tell you that it costs high to move food from one place to the other.I was in Ekiti recently.A tuber of yam I saw that was sold for N300 was sold forN1500 in Lagos”.
Explaining why food prices are still high, the Statistician General and CEO of NBS,Dr Yemi Kale, said there is a problem with the distribution across the country.
He stated that Nigerians are not feeling the real impact of the positive economic growth rate on their lives because the economy is still largely oil-driven.
He added: “There are different stages Nigeria must go through before the masses will feel the effects of going out of recession. Out of recession is the first step which is very important.Then the country can talk of economic recovery, which is going back to where Nigeria was before the recession. Recession is just a technical word; we are comparing 2017 and 2016.
“Recession is not about the price of your goods, not whether unemployment is going up or down; not whether you have quality education; it is purely your gross domestic product; your output of goods and services in the economy.”