Against the backdrop of Tuesday’s announcement of Nigeria’s exit from recession, a university lecturer, Dr Tolani Hassan, has called for improved welfare package for the citizenry.
Hassan, an economist and Senior Lecturer at the College of Management and Social Sciences, Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijebu-Ode, Ogun, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday.
“It’s a marginal growth of 0.55 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product, which is more or less insignificant when you look at the larger picture.
“Though it is good news that we are out of recession but my own concern is this: how does this translate to a better welfare package for the citizenry?
“To have the figures on paper is one thing, and translating it to better living for the people is another.
“In Nigeria today, people are no longer interested in statistical figures, but are more interested in how they will meet their domestic needs.
“It’s good we are saying we are out of recession, but we want it to be practicable,” Hassan said.
He urged the Federal Government to seek pragmatic ways of utilising the recession news toward giving Nigerians cause for cheer.
Hassan said the government could start by honouring previous agreements it entered into with civil society organisations to fast track socioeconomic development.
“The Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike, resident doctors are on strike, other joint labour unions are also threatening to go on strike.
“This says a lot about the present state of the economy.
“It is one thing to make an agreement and another to implement the terms of the agreement.
“ You are honourable when you keep to agreements.
“If the government wants to show us that they are sincere and sensitive to the plight of Nigerians, let them honour agreements.
“Now they say we are out of recession, but people are still lamenting over lack of food and inflation rate.
“Price of commodities have not dropped and salaries aren’t being paid as and when due, and in some cases, not paid at all.
“So, the question is this: what has changed, pre and post recession? How the figures will have impact on our lives is our utmost priority,” Hassan said.