Each time I try to x-ray what could be done to reduce the pains of the masses, I get more and more confused. Have you noticed that the jerrycan boys, pump attendants, and POS operators are now the kings and queens of our economic system? POS operators now compete with banks, while Jerrycan boys compete with duly licensed gas station owners. Gradually, our banking halls may become ghost points while the queue shifts to POS terminals and jerrycan depots.
Is it not befuddling to see fuel-carrying jerrycan boys without a license from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority selling petroleum products everywhere? These jerrycan boys collude with pump attendants and station managers to compete with independent marketers, who are duly licensed to dispense petroleum products to customers. Seeing them line up their wares close to gas stations with long queues is even more annoying. Nigeria is not lacking laws to deal with every situation. But for reasons best known to the government, it allows lawlessness to pervade the entire socio-economic space.
Though policymakers and the government falter, we, the citizens, are also not helping matters because we enable corruption to fester everywhere. The citizens even seem more brutal and merciless to themselves than the government; if not, how do we explain a situation where POS operators charge between 10% – 30% off the money Nigerians withdraw from their hard-earned money in bank vaults? Right before our eyes, POS operators are reducing the values of what customers withdraw by 10-30%.
We see people openly sell the new Naira notes at parties, and we patronize them. Is buying and selling the Naira, not a criminal offense? How many POS operators and Naira sellers have been arrested and prosecuted? How many bank managers have been identified, prosecuted, and jailed for illicitly trading in the Naira? assuredly, without the collusion of bankers, there can be no street trading of the Naira notes. Important also is the role we individually play in the value chains of these chaotic financial, oil, and gas systems. Patronizing them also makes us accomplices. So, how will the illicit trading in the Naira, activities of jerrycan boys, and POS operators stop when we promote the trade?
Have you also noticed how renting a property in so many cities attracts agency and agreement fees, or whatever they call it, that is almost more than half of the money used in renting the property?
In all of the above, there are laws to protect consumers, but who cares? I hope we will not get to a situation where the masses will carry out a three-pronged revolution: one to cleanse its rank and file, the other to deal with the bourgeoisie class masquerading as part of the masses and the third, the government who should protect them but refuse to. I pray we do not get to that bus stop.
Grace and peace!!!