PRESIDENT TINUBU’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ARE SUFFOCATING WORKERS AND POOR
WE CAN NO LONGER BREATHE
REVERSE FUEL PRICE TO N195 NOW! NO TO FEE HIKE! NO TO HIKE IN ELECTRICITY TARIFF! END ALL ANTI-POOR POLICIES!
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) urges the working people and youth to come out, get organized by setting up democratic action committees in communities, workplaces and campuses, and begin to fight against the anti-poor policies of the President Tinubu administration. These policies are suffocating workers and the poor while the rich continue to smile to the bank.
Since May 29, President Tinubu has removed petrol subsidy leading to petrol price rising from N195 to N617. He has also devalued the naira and planned to increase electricity tariff. The combined effect of all these has led to inflation with prices of commodities increasing by over 300 percent. Yet the minimum wage remains at the level it was 4 years ago and purchasing power of the majority has been eroded. The government claimed that the subsidy was benefitting “a select group of individuals” and removing it was meant to block this draining of public resources, but it is not the rich who have been trekking to work since May 29. It is the poor workers! It is not the rich that cannot afford to buy food items in the market since May 29, it is poor Nigerians.
THE GOVT CANNOT BE TRUSTED
If the government truly wants to stop the subsidy benefiting the rich, then it ought to have repaired the four refineries so Nigeria can begin domestic refining of its crude oil. Also, government should have arrested these “select group of individuals” and once convicted after a trial, confiscate their ill-gotten assets which can be used to fund social services. But we all know that these individuals are the friends and cronies of Tinubu and his government. Instead of taking action against them, President Tinubu prefers to make the poor suffer.
The government also promised that savings from the fuel subsidy removal will be used to fund public education, healthcare and social services but this is not happening. Our public education sector is still underfunded; our hospitals are decrepit while resident doctors are now on strike. Instead of increasing the funding of public education, the government introduced a students loan policy that will impose huge debt on poor students and parents. A student loan policy is not the answer to the crisis of public education. All it has done is to legitimize fee hikes. Many public universities, polytechnics and colleges have started increasing fees to levels that poor working people cannot afford.
The government promised palliatives (to be funded through a World Bank loan and not from subsidy savings) but all it is offering is a miserable N8000 per 25 million households in a country where nothing less than 133 million people are said to be living in multi-dimensional poverty! All the palliative programmes put forward by the federal government and some state governments are not enough to arrest the growing economic crises imposed on the people, let alone move the economy forward, it is like a bucket of water in an ocean of crises. Now President Tinubu has assured workers that he would accelerate the review of the national minimum wage. The NLC and TUC must ensure they put forward a bold demand for a new minimum wage that reflects the rate of inflation. This alongside fighting for improved funding of public education, healthcare and social services can help to minimally improve the living conditions of workers and provide some relief from the hardship many suffer at the moment.
A SOCIALIST NIGERIA
But no improvement will last so far the neo-liberal policies of deregulation, commercialization and privatization continue to exist alongside the inequitable capitalist economic system. This is why it is important for workers, the poor masses and youth to also fight for the reversal of the neo-liberal policies and for an end to capitalism and the enthronement of a workers and poor people’s government armed with Socialist policies.
President Tinubu in his speech gives the impression that there is no other way to run Nigeria without inflicting pain on the people. The truth is that there is another way. That is the way of Socialism. By putting the commanding heights of Nigeria’s economy under democratic workers’ control and management, it is possible to rescue the wealth of Nigeria which is currently trapped in the hands of a tiny rich elite and use this wealth, on the basis of a Socialist plan, to begin to reconstruct Nigeria to the benefit of the workers, youth and poor masses.
- Reversal of pump price of fuel to N195 per litre.
- No to the planned increase in electricity tariff
- Arrest and speedy trial of all subsidy thieves and seizure of their ill-gotten wealth
- N200, 000 national minimum wage to be regularly increased in accordance to the rate of inflation
- Reduction in the salaries of political office holders and their placement on the minimum wage.
- Cancelation of security vote and reduction of the Presidential fleet
- Immediate crash programme to repair old refineries and build new ones
- Petrol from Dangote refinery, when it starts operating, to conform to a price cap of N195 per litre otherwise it should be nationalized under workers control and management.
- Reversal of all hiked school fees. No to student loan. For adequate funding of public education
- Immediate meeting of the demands of academic staff, non-academic staff, doctors and all medical personnel.
- Release of all political prisoners including #ENDSARS protesters and end to attacks on democratic rights.
- Nationalization of the oil and gas sector, banks, big industries and mines under workers control and management
- A workers and poor people’s government armed with Socialist programme.