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Post-fuel subsidy: How we survive- workers

Some of the Nigerian workers have recounted how they are coping with the removal of fuel subsidy which has led to the rise of goods and services in Nigeria.

Most of them agreed that they have been badly affected by the removal of the subsidy and lamented that the government is yet to cushion the effect of the action which has resulted in pain for them.

In order to beat the harsh economic situation, civil servants said they have been devising various survival strategies, including skipping work as well as engaging in farming and trading to augment their incomes.

Some workers in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos revealed that their organisations have reduced the number of work hours and days.

They further noted that their organisations had also adopted the work-from-home model which became popular during the lockdown period following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

An Abuja-based civil servant, Judith Obiora said, “Most of the offices at the Federal Secretariat are no longer filled up as they used to be before the fuel subsidy removal. Now, we only come to the office twice or thrice a week.”

A civil servant who is planning to relocate abroad said he could no longer cope with the high cost of living.

He said, “The situation in Nigeria is very terrible because the minimum wage no longer meets the cost of living. Civil servants are suffering because the prices of things have increased, and it is tough to cope these days.

“By the time you weigh everything, you will see that it is not worth it. Even as a businessman in this country, getting customers to patronise you is difficult, and getting your profit from the work you are doing is hard.”

A worker, who identified himself as Friday, said he had been going to work three times a week to cut costs.

He said, “It has greatly affected me because I can’t afford to go to work Monday through Friday anymore. I go three times a week. Even if the directors have their ways, they won’t show up.

“The effect of the subsidy removal is general. The bus provided for my area is an 18-seater bus but we have over 50 staff living in Kuje, and the senior staff always get preference over the junior staff.

‘’The junior staff members are left behind. I don’t even try boarding the bus because I don’t want any senior staff member to talk to me anyhow (disrespectfully).”

 

A staff member of a prominent agency who wished to be known as Vivian stated, “It has been tough, especially in the area of feeding. Things are very expensive, and for people like us who still have young children, it has been quite difficult to meet up.

“If it is an adult, you can still manage, but how do you tell a child that the money is not enough? Also, in the area of transportation, it has been very difficult. For instance, the transport fare that used to be N100 before has jumped to N300, and when you calculate it, you will find out that the easiest thing to do is to work remotely once in a while,” he told PUNCH.

A civil servant who identified herself as Sade said she and her husband had been having sleepless nights over the survival of their family.

She lamented, “I was at the market yesterday, and I screamed. Things are too expensive. Honestly, we can’t continue like this. Apart from the high food prices, the school fees of my children have increased, and my husband and I have been having sleepless nights trying to manage ourselves.”

One Mr Kunle Adams, who worked with a federal agency, said he had been forced to become a cab driver in order to generate extra income.

He noted, “I usually do not like to pick passengers when going to work, but I have been doing it to cover the amount I spent on fuel. I once tried parking my car at home, but it was not convenient for me to do so; otherwise, I would have dropped it because it is cost-effective.

‘’If you are talking about high prices of commodities, that is everywhere, so who am I not to be affected? If only the government could intervene, it would be lovely.’’

Lamenting the situation, Ade Abayomi, a Lagos-based civil servant said, “It’s not been easy since the subsidy removal was announced. But I think the government has been reasonable too. I only go to work about thrice in a week these days.”

Hassan Ahmed, who works with a federal parastatal in Abuja, admitted that he works remotely and only visits the office occasionally.

“The cash crunch is affecting everyone, including government organisations and private companies and individuals. Most of us now work from home. I only go to the office occasionally now,” he disclosed.

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Written by Olusesan Oba

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