Nigerian president vows to press on with reforms amid hardships

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria reaffirmed his commitment to economic reforms despite growing public discontent over increasing hardships.

Tinubu, in office for a year, abolished a long-standing petrol subsidy and devalued the currency, leading to a surge in inflation to 33.69% in April, the highest in nearly three decades, and a decline in purchasing power.

In a televised address on Democracy Day, Tinubu acknowledged the challenges caused by the reforms, which also include higher interest rates and partial removal of electricity subsidies. However, he emphasized that these measures would lay the groundwork for future economic growth.

“Our economy has long needed reform. It has been imbalanced due to excessive reliance on oil revenues,” Tinubu remarked, promising to prioritize the people’s interests as reforms progress.

Nigeria faces its worst cost-of-living crisis in years, with labour unions recently suspending a strike aimed at pressuring the government to agree on a new minimum wage.

The government proposed doubling the minimum wage to 62,000 naira ($41.89) per month, while labour unions demand 250,000 naira. Tinubu stated that his government negotiated in good faith and intends to formalize the agreement through an executive bill to the National Assembly.

“We will soon present an executive bill to the National Assembly to codify what has been agreed upon into law for the next five years or less,” Tinubu announced, without specifying the proposed minimum wage in the bill.

Labour union leaders have expressed willingness to wait for Tinubu’s response before deciding on their next course of action.

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