The federal government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari proposed the removal of fuel subsidies. Fuel subsidy removal has lingered for years through several administrations. If successful, the FG’s support to oil and gas companies and stakeholders for importing processed oil into Nigeria will be stopped.
If the subsidy is removed, petrol pump prices can jump to N300 per liter which is likely to affect everyone, most especially low-income earners. The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed that a monthly cash grant of N5,000 will be given to Nigerians. According to her the cash award “will keep the poor masses alive while the struggle is on.”
The plan is to commence the preparations in early 2022, while the actual removal will take effect in June 2022. The figures show that 30 to 40 million Nigerians will benefit from the N5,000 stipends and this will cost approximately N2.4trillion. In its reaction, the Nigerian Labour Congress has kicked against the move, labeling it “unwise”.
However, some businesses are likely to benefit from the cash grant, including sports betting companies. Chances of this are high, and we’ll explore this in more detail below.
Sports Betting in Nigeria
Sports betting is one of the most actively patronized activities in Nigeria. With several companies offering bookmaking services in the country, the sports betting market continues to rise astronomically. NOI Polls observed that 4 of 10 Nigerians surveyed place bets on sports – whether online or physical outlets. The survey also disclosed that punters wager an average of N3,000 weekly on various sports.
In other words, the average bettor spends 3k to 5k on betting. The maximum average of 5k is what the government is proposing to hand out to Nigerians as their monthly subsidy removal grant. A 2020 survey was conducted in the USA to ascertain how Americans spent their stimulus payments. Stimulus checks were issued to Americans to ameliorate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The survey showed that most Americans spent the stimulus payment on their upkeep, as well as other activities that could increase their incomes.
However, as against the US, living conditions could be quite tough in Nigeria. In light of this, every young person delights at every chance to increase their income. Considering the high popularity of sports betting amongst young people, the N5,000 grant is seen as a means of enhancing incomes.
There have been immense efforts by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission to provide a responsible gambling landscape. Despite the efforts, fun is no longer a consideration for gambling among many gamblers. Rather, wagering on lucrative odds and markets has become a veritable way of making money for sustenance.
Possible Income Rise on the Horizon
There has been an outpour of condemnations at the proposed subsidy removal. Many people argue that cash disbursement could lend itself to corruption and misappropriation. Others also argue that the fuel subsidy retention of the past decades has not been beneficial to most Nigerians.
As a result, many are also of the view that they prefer to receive stipends. It is believed that with such stipends, people can invest in small-scale activities that could yield little profits. One of those activities is betting on sports.
With the drive to increase incomes and the way sports betting is perceived by punters, the 5k subsidy grant could lead to massive sports betting. Although the amount is unquestionably little, the grant can still amount to something reasonable to punters.