Why Nigeria’s economy is in such a mess

Nigeria is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in a generation, forcing families across the country to ration their food. Trade unions held protests on Tuesday, calling on the government to do more against the ballooning cost of living.

How bad is the economy?
Overall, annual inflation, is now close to 30% and 35% for food alone. Widely shared social media videos indicate how some are reducing portion sizes. One clip shows a woman cutting a fish into nine pieces rather than the average four to five. She is heard saying her goal is to ensure her family can at least eat some fish twice a week.

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What is causing the crisis?
Inflation has soared in many countries, but President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to remodel the economy have also added to the burden. On the day he was sworn in nine months ago, the new president announced that a long-standing fuel subsidy would be ending. Mr Tinubu also ended the policy of pegging the price of the currency, the naira, to the US dollar. Since then, its value has plunged by more than two-thirds. That means the price of all imported products go up.

When will things get better?
The president is unlikely to reverse his decisions on the fuel subsidy and the naira, which he argues will pay off in the long run. But the government ordered the national grain reserve to distribute 42,000 tonnes of grains, including maize and millet – although labour unions have often said this aid doesn’t reach poor families.


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