Before the recent Islamic celebration of Eid-Kabir, many Muslims were quite apprehensive on how they could celebrate the occasion in view of the economic recession in the country.
The situation was so alarming that some Islamic scholars had to intervene with consoling sermons and preaching on economic management in critical period.
An Islamic Scholar, Imam Abdulhameed Shuaib Agaka declared that the sacrificial Ram for Sallah is not obligatory or compulsory in Islam.
He said: “Considering the current economic situation, Muslims should prioritize their need and ensure they provide basic necessities for the family, especially accommodation, feeding, medication, education and mobility. It is after meeting the basic essentials that surplus income could be utilise for Sallah ram and other celebrations.”
The warning by the scholars came at the time the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its report on Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation. The report shows that inflation has hit 17.6 percent in August compared to 17.1 percent recorded in the month of July 2016. According to the NBS, the major divisions responsible for accelerating the pace of the increase in the headline index were Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuel, Education and Transportation Services.
For instance, the Food Index rose by 16.4 percent (year-on-year) in August, up by 0.6 percent points from 15.8 percent recorded in July.
During the month, all the major food groups contributed to the increase in the Food sub-index, however the pace of increase was slowed by Fruits, Potatoes, Yam and other Tubers as well as Oils and Fats, which reported slower increases during the month.
Furthermore, imported foods as reflected by the Imported Food Sub-index increased by 0.2% points from July to 20.7% in August.
Many experts have raised issues about the inflationary trends in the economic recession. The President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mr. Titus Soetan, said that the current economic recession in the country would have been avoided if substantial savings had been made into the Excess Crude Account when the price of crude oil was high. Speaking in a media chat, Soetan said dwindling oil revenue and poor savings culture by past government administrations contributed significantly to the current recession.
Given the huge revenue gap created by the dwindling oil revenue, the ICAN president said that the economy would not have performed better regardless of the economic policies of the government. According to him, a minimum of $100bn in the ECA would have saved the country from recession.
In suggesting solutions to the economic crisis, an economist and Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane declared that for the federal government must borrow and sell assets to raise funds and must inject money into the economy.
He said: “The government must inject funds into the system and the executive is fully engaged because they know they cannot hide, they have to deal with the problem.”
In desperate search for a way out of the steady decline of the economy and its disturbing impact on Nigerians, the Federal Government is about to inject N350 billion into the system in order to stimulate economic activities.
It is also in the process of obtaining $1 billion Eurobond which would be concluded before this year ends. This was disclosed by Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun while speaking with the media.
The government further stated that its pledged feeding programme, recruitment of 500.000 teachers and payment of N5000 to vulnerable citizens would commence this month.
The injection of funds into the economy is most delighting and refreshing news to rekindle the hope of Nigerians. The reality on the ground is that the country is facing unbearable condition and unwarranted hardship. In fact, many have hailed the injection of funds by government but demanded more measures in order to ameliorate the hardship across the land.
Despite the assurance of injecting more funds into the economy, the government should open its door to constructive criticism and hire or consult economic experts that have better ideas on how to address the crises. The earlier this is done the better for the country.
Shittu Yunus Shittu
A graduate of Economics from
Kwara State University (KWASU)