In the light of all that is brewing within the shores of our beloved country Nigeria, HFA deemed it necessary to say a thing or two about what’s going…
Oh you don’t know? Or haven’t heard? Oh my! We are talking about the removal of fuel subsidies, the price hikes and the best bit, the resistance of the masses: Occupy Nigeria!
We would like to see ourselves as not just people in fashion but also believers of fashion with a conscience. We won’t sit and stare and fold our arms in despair over the turmoil in Nigeria. We are proud to say we are a team consisting of a number of Nigerian concerned with the situation in the country and want what’s best for Nigeria as faithful compatriots.
Many believe fashion to be fickle, lacking depth and relevance when it comes to matters of the state and the economy. You may wonder from what angle HFA is looking at the unrest in Nigeria? Well we see opportunity, an opportunity for change. Changing our mindsets, saying no to corruption and lawlessness, believing in the best and no less and taking advantage of what our country is blessed with.
The dependence on crude and other petroleum resources is rather appalling and it is no surprise that the removal of subsidies has sparked such outrage across the country. Fuel is a necessity but one can’t help but feel that the federal government is flexing ‘subsidising muscles’ and feeling so powerful because of how heavily dependent we are on petroleum resources. Sometimes certain measures are necessary to stabilise an economy. The removal of subsidies could have been introduced gradually rather waking up on New Year’s Day to a price hike of over 200%. Of course hyperinflation kicks in and has a ripple effect on the entire economy. Throw in millions of disgruntled citizens for good measure, and what we is an embarrassingly hot mess!
Seems like the Nigerian government, after robbing its citizens blind and many of us being a part of this ‘broad daylight robbery’ (contracts, tax evasion, goodwill, windfalls anyone?), is broke! If only we were not so subservient to this ‘black gold’, government spending could have been minimised in many other ways. But no! We have to suffer! Alternative industries exist that can generate just as much income for the country and its people.
Nigeria has cotton, textiles and labour in its abundance so why haven’t they been maximised? Just last year, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria announced that manufacturing’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP dropped from 4.21% to 4.1% and the average manufacturing capacity utilisation decreased from 47% in 2009 to 45% in 2010. What proportion of these meager figures is raked in my clothing and textiles?! Why do we not have a thriving retail fashion industry? Millions are out of employment and manufacturing is an industry that can reduce the unemployment gap. In a system that works, Nigeria’s economy would be thriving in manufacturing for fashion retailers rather than giving birth to one fashion designer after the other. We are not knocking anyone passion/hustle, but one must admit it is mostly out of frustration from unemployment or not being skilfully employed that many have chosen to explore their more creative and ‘non-status quo’ talents.
So while it is encouraging to see the country’s economy diversifying and now embracing the service industry, it should not be to the detriment of other industries like agriculture and manufacturing. The people have lost faith in the economy producing jobs and have taken to maximising their own skills as entrepreneurs that make enough money to just about get by. Even our indigenous designers sometimes source for their prints and fabrics in other African countries and the rest of the world.
You may ask, what’s the point of this article and how is it relevant to the OccupyNigeria movement and the general state of things? One needs to be conscious, aware and well informed when taking a stand amidst these protests. Don’t just occupy your streets and cry of N65 fuel, occupy your minds, and choose to do things the right way. We are ‘occupying’ not just because we want fuel prices to go back to N65 (unlikely as even this price is not cheap enough for a country that produces crude), but because we want a functional system, free of corruption, a governing system that is truly for the people and most importantly a Nigeria where we can live in peace and unity.
Tags: African fashion, agi, change, corruption, employment, Fashion, fuel, fuel subsidy, HauTe topic, inflation, inflation and fasion, manufacturing, Nigeria, occupy, OccupyNigeria, petroleum, subsidise, unemployment