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Nigerian President Announces Government Austerity


Protesters walk past a soldier standing guard during a rally against the decision to end fuel subsidies in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 6, 2012.

Protesters walk past a soldier standing guard during a rally against the decision to end fuel subsidies in Nigeria's capital Abuja, January 6, 2012.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan went on television Saturday to promise that the government will share hardship with ordinary citizens, hit by rising fuel costs.

The president announced that foreign travel of government officials will be reduced to the barest minimum and that salaries, including his own, will be cut by 25 percent.

"On the part of government, we are taking several measures aimed at cutting the size and cost of government, including an ongoing and continuous effort to reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending," said Mr. Johnson.

The president's address to the nation on the state-run Nigerian Television Authority comes ahead of a planned nationwide strike over spiraling fuel costs. Labor unions have announced indefinite strikes starting Monday.

Prices of gas soared after the government ended fuel subsidies January 1, leading to increased prices of transportation and food.

Angry Nigerians have been protesting in the past week and some of the protest in the capital Abuja have turned violent.

But some economists say the subsidies encouraged corruption.

Nigeria is a large producer of crude oil, but depends largely on imports for fuel because its refineries are in disrepair after years of mismanagement.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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