Sequel to my article justifying the petrol price hike, I received a lot of responses from people, some of them sarcastic. I knew it would happen like that, but I purposely chose to start the discourse, in order to correct the long-held misconception about the so-called “living condition” abroad.
Ordinarily, I would have delayed my response till much later, but when I received the message below, from a close friend, an academic in Mass communication, and one that I once worked with abroad, I said the delay is dangerous, because it may consume the elites.
“Your previous articles appear more objective than this because you only cared to do a cost comparative analysis of petrol in different countries without considering the level of underdevelopment and backwardness of theNigerian economy, which translates into near-zero opportunities for the Nigerian people. Even countries like Niger provide more stable power supply, security, predictable exchange rate, consistent business policies etc and more conducive business environment than our own. Hence, citizens, there can afford to pay high petrol or electricity cost!”. The introduction of his message says, “This your article, was it commissioned by Femi Adesina or Garba Shehu?
At least the intro gave me the desired laughter.
Because my friend and I are from Kano and we once lived together in London, I would centre my comparison of living conditions to, between Kano and London.
According to a recently published report, it was found that a single person living in London would need to earn at least £27,000 a year to be able to pay rent in a shared house and live comfortably. Live comfortably here is to me, relative.
Another report has this to say about living in London: “Living conditions in the heart of London are not to be envied, despite all the profligacy there. City lungs are slowly filling with chemicals; City minds grow weary thinking about where their wallets are in case of theft, and how full they are, in preparation for the next financial crash; and City offices and homes burn up power as air-condition whirl and a thousand and one gadgets are charged.
Going by the exchange rate today, £27,000 is equivalent to N16,470,000,00. So you need nearly N17m to live in a shared apartment, in a city that fills your lungs with chemicals, to arrive at a so-called comfortable house.
I can say without fear of any contradiction, with N17m you can buy a very good house in Tarauni, which is a stone throw from the Government House, of Nasarawa GRA, Kano.
Again, if purchasing power is the value of a currency expressed in terms of the amount of goods or services that one unit of money can buy, and going by the data of Numbeo.com, a leading site on comparative living standards, commodities sell higher in London than in Kano: