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EDITORIAL: Confusion About “Palliatives”

EDITORIAL: Confusion About “Palliatives”
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

THE word palliative/palliatives itself must be one of the most searched words in Nigeria. It connotes all manner of usage. However, interpreted the conventional wisdom is that it is a temporary relief and not alleviation, let alone a cure for poverty. 


In the confusion, we have to go back to the basics. This is that a war against poverty is a clear path to achieving the much desired goal of lifting tens of millions of people out of the poverty trap. In contemporary history, Brazil and India to name two have demonstrated how the uplifting of living standards as well as the construction of social safety nets can be turned into a positive impact for an advance thrust. 

READ: OBSERVATION: Breaking The Chain Of Underdevelopment

Such an advance will not be achieved through the use of palliative. At best, this policy can be described as good intentions; but then the Italian poet Dante warned centuries ago that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Good intentions are not enough, there must be a strategic imperative to achieve a desired goal, this is sadly lacking at the moment.  

Not even rudimentary social safety nets will come out of the palliatives policy. On the contrary it is looking like a feeding frenzy in a political patronge system. Not surprisingly civil society have been marginalised in the distribution. Obviously, nothing was learnt from a similar debacle in the response to the Covid – 19 pandemic. 

A lot more than the ephemeral should have been achieved. For example, money should have been spent on the provision of cold storage facilities in markets which will have been beneficial for the traders, the consumers and the farmers. It will have impacted positively on an entire value chain This will have been a great intervention leading to an increase in purchasing power parity in a country suffering from the debilitating effect of stagflation. Equally beneficial will have been investments in rural roads; this will have impacted positively on the fight against post harvest losses, and in the process increasing the productivity and the living standards of those living in the rural areas as well refreshing the rural economy. 

We have to appreciate the opportunity costs of this wasted opportunity which will have turned adversity into an advantage. Two billion Naira is too much money to throw away. Pity!

We must go back to the drawing board and start anew. Fighting poverty is not just a moral issue, it is an economic policy. It is to be hoped that this will be our last excursion into the fantasy world of ill -defined fantasies known in this case as “palliative”.

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