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Economic Crisis: Nigerians adjust feeding patterns, embrace prayers

A fresh public opinion poll by NOIPolls on Wednesday revealed that Nigerians have been compelled to adjust the feeding patterns of their families, while others have resigned to fate, resorting to seeking divine intervention through prayers as the country’s economic situation worsens.

The poll conducted in conjunction with Business Day Media revealed that about two-thirds of the country’s 170 million population (66 percent) lamented the hardship they and members of their families were facing since the country’s economic situation worsened over the past three months.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, confirmed the country’s economy was in recession.

A recession is a general downturn in any economy, with significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting longer than a few months, associated with high unemployment, slowing real gross domestic product, declining income and high inflation.

The poll said Nigerians believe the recession was triggered by recent happenings in the macro and micro economic landscape, includng the decline in the global crude oil prices, which resulted in outcomes that have negatively impacted their personal economic wellbeing and living standards.

Key among the recent economic challenges faced by Nigerians include huge increase in prices of goods and services (43 per cent); hike in petrol pump price (18 per cent); rise in the cost of transportation (10 per cent); devaluation of the Naira and foreign exchange crisis (8 per cent); poor electricity supply (7 per cent); irregular payment of salaries (4 percent); increase in electricity tariff (3 per cent).

The report said the findings were corroborated by recent inflation figures published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), putting headline inflation in June 2016 at about 16.5 percent, the highest in more than six years.

“From the poll results, 97 percent of the entire respondents acknowledged that these recent economic realities have had a negative effect of the general wellbeing of the average Nigerian. Consequently, this has led to the adoption of some measures and strategies to enable them cope or manage the impact of the current economic realities,” the report said.

The report identified the coping mechanisms by Nigerians to include cutting down on household expenses and luxury items; enduring the situation and seeking the face of God in prayers; adjusting family feeding patterns; creating alternative sources of income and engaging in subsistence agriculture.

As remedies for improving their general well-being, the report said Nigerians suggested that government focus attention on ‘improving the economy’ (33 percent), ‘investing in agriculture’ (15 percent), ‘controlling the price of goods and services’ (14 percent) and ‘reducing the pump price of petrol‘ (10 percent).

About four percent of Nigerians, the report said, believe resolving the crisis in the Niger-Delta region would end the vandalism of oil installations in the region, check the country’s dwindling revenue from crude oil, help in reviving the economy and improving the general wellbeing of citizens.

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