Nigerian Fuel Subsidy Strike a Symptom Of Bigger African Problem

After waking up and suddenly fuel had gone from 45 cents a litre to 95 cents a litre – $1.25 on the black market – Nigerian unions have called for a strike. For a country where the average citizen earns as little as $2 per day that is a huge jump.

The government says it wants to save the $8 billion it spends on subsidies for other programmes.

For a country that produces 2.5 billion barrels of oil per day this may seem a bit crazy, but this is a symptom of the African problem. Nigeria does not have a refinery which means that it exports all that oil and then buys petroleum products at considerable cost. Add to that, the fact that the oil exported is being harvested by international companies which further reduces the profit made by the government and ergo, the benefit to the masses.

Think of Zimbabwe and the diamond situation. One of the biggest miners is a Chinese company – we are looking east right? –  and we do not have a diamond processing plant. Essentially, this means what we are exporting is a very raw mineral and when Josphat wants to put a rock on Venencia’s finger, he has to import it. For a country that mines the diamonds it is a complete joke.

To be honest I think African countries are being a bit lazy. With the resources we have on this continent we should need pretty much nothing outside Africa. Of course it does not mean we can’t be friends with the rest of the world but you get my drift.

It is that unwillingness to innovate in the leadership of this continent which is making sure that we stay far behind. For a continent that has a proud history of invention this is a disgrace.

But that is what we have to deal with. Nigerians are going on strike because of a subsidy they have a right to. At a time when oil prices are really high they should not have to scrounge around to make ends meet, cutting back in order to get things done.

We all know what happened. Someone was too keen to sign on the dotted line. Most likely their pockets were lined as well. Noone was keeping an eye on the future.

Now everyone is screwed.