Memories of 2021
Through Chioma Okezie Okeh
“I I’m ashamed to say it, but if my son likes yahoo yahoo (internet fraud) I’ll pretend I don’t know because somehow we have to survive. There is nothing more to calculate. My salary has been the same since 2015, and the cost of living has tripled. I have six children, now three of them have given up because I have to feed them first before talking about education. It was Mr. Ojukwu, a civil servant, when asked how the year 2021 went.
Despite complaints from Nigerians that it is difficult to survive in the current economy due to inflation, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its report insists there has been a further cut in the rate. inflation in November 2021, falling to 15.4 percent. cent against 15.99 percent recorded the previous month.
The urban inflation rate increased by 15.92% (year-on-year) in November 2021 against 15.47% recorded in November 2020, while the rural inflation rate increased by 14.89% in November 2021 against 14.33% in November 2020.
Food inflation fell significantly to 17.21% in November 2021 from 18.34% recorded in October 2021. Food inflation fell to its lowest level in 14 months. On a monthly basis, the food sub-index rose 1.07% in November 2021, up 0.16% from 0.91% recorded in October 2021.
According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by rising prices for bread and grains, fish, food products, potatoes, yams and other tubers, oils. and fats, milk, cheese and eggs and coffee, tea and cocoa. .
Despite all the reassuring numbers displayed above, the majority of those who spoke to Saturday Sun said 2021 has been a difficult year, but they have learned to curb the excesses.
Ms. Mary Ogbama, who is based in Kaduna, thanked God that her children are old and old enough to understand the need to manage whatever is available. âI thank God that my children understood the need to eat less and save more. I survived this year by the grace of God. I really don’t know how the average person with more than four kids does. Horrible confinement aside, 2020 has been better for me. None of my relatives sent me a single grain of rice. It’s even worse with those overseas. They said inflation is everywhere. I believe rich men were also affected because everyone who arranged free gifts for us didn’t remember us at all. We are even afraid of 2022 because the government wants to increase the price of fuel. We pray that the God of the poor will not allow this to happen.
At Oshodi Market, Ms Jumoke Olufemi claimed that 2021 was worse than in previous years. âDuring the lockdown, we, the grain sellers, made a lot of money from the palliatives that were much requested by the government and individuals. I think it’s the aftermath of the lockdown that is affecting us as people have lost their jobs and wages have been cut.
âYou can see it for yourself. Even now the market is empty. Where did they all go? No one has so much money to spend anymore. I called my client who ordered at least 50 bags of rice every year in December. I was afraid he would have another client. He told me he was going to manage the half-bag of rice that was left in his house.
âHe sells electronics and he complained bitterly that things were not going well for him. How will this evolve when people struggle to feed their families? I told my kids to choose between Christmas clothes and school fees. My husband lost his job at the bank and I am the only one with the family now. This is our reality and no one can do anything about it.
Mohammed, who operates a bureau de change, blamed the decline on government policies. âYou can call us black market or whatever, but we’re the ones who keep the economy going. Even with the high exchange rate, we haven’t seen any kind of mad rush in 2021. Even the number of international students has dropped. I used to receive a lot of these students but it has gone down, even the parents have taken their children away, except that such a child is ready to work and support himself .
The high cost of food has a lot to do with the rising dollar. Until exchange rates go down, things will never get better.
âThose who are busy telling us that inflation has gone down are the thieves of this country. They judge the economy on the basis of the money they have stolen. They did not work for it and as long as they are in government the money will continue to flow. I am in real estate and I have no less than 20 properties on the market. No one has the cash to buy these properties. Most of the houses you see in the upscale neighborhoods are empty. We pray that in 2022 politicians will release money into the economy. We really hope that the real estate business will reopen as most of us are already struggling with the many loans from the banks we manage. The cost of building materials has doubled and the project needs to be completed and put back on the market. It’s crazy but we thank God for being alive to see yet another healthy New Year. “
Mr. Steve Onukwe is an entrepreneur. He told Saturday Sun that the secret to survival is to cut back on excess. âThere may be a drop in inflation, but the truth is, the money in our pockets doesn’t seem to be increasing. I just canceled a lot of things that were routine in the family. For example, my kids go on vacation abroad every year. Since 2020, none of them have left this country. They are in good private schools and their tuition fees are high. For me, their education is the most important thing they need. I have also reduced the number of people I support in cash. It is not my fault or theirs; it’s just the reality on the ground. The cost of running the house has doubled and these are more important than pleasing anyone with gifts. I also cut back on parties with friends. We make more family and friends come together. We pray for a better year 2022. Surviving inflation is very easy for an average person like me. I really don’t know how the poor man is doing. I had to change my cell phone number because of requests from people. They are people with a real need and so desperate. It’s unfortunate but we pray that it will get better. I used to give at least 100 bags of rice to the less privileged. This year, I managed to buy 50 bags and 40 were shared among relatives in need. This was our reality in 2021, but we pray that things will improve, especially the price of food and the exchange rate. “
Alhaji Sani Mohammed prays for a better year so that he can return to his farms in Niger where he easily made so many profits. âThe worsening insecurity is one of the reasons 2021 has been bad. I was a very successful farmer in Niger State. I had no choice but to move to Abuja when the bandits took over our area and were harvesting and selling our produce. I used my little savings to buy a house in Kubwa and opened a grocery store. In fact, one of my women left and I didn’t bother to stop her because I can’t handle three women anymore. This is my new reality and we pray that things will improve.
Madame Ngozi, a businesswoman in Ajao, is grateful to God for life and provision despite the difficulty of things. âThings were very expensive, but we thank God for surviving. The demand for things has also dropped drastically, which means less money in our pockets. Those who bought ten sacks of flour reduced it to five. Their excuse was that they ran out of cake orders. God has also helped in other ways to balance things out for those who believe and trust him.
A transporter, Ekenne, thanked God for having ended the year so well. âI’m a transporter and I’m proud to say we’ve made so much money this season. We collect up to N 25,000 per person due to the high demand for our cars. The airlines have helped our case by inflating prices outrageously. Although it has been a difficult year with rising food prices, I am proud to say that it ended well for me. We are still in season and I have paid the children’s school fees. We pray that it will get better.
Owner of Good Seeds Kindergarten and Elementary School, Ms Damilola Johnson said she has lost most of her students due to the gravity of things. âIt started with the 2020 lockdown and the fact that breadwinners in some families lost their jobs and could no longer afford the fees. In Igando, tuition fees are less than N50,000 per term. Most parents struggle to pay the fees by the end of the school year. This naturally affected the salaries of my staff. I can’t do magic; I just begged them to understand my plight and accept what is offered. We need government assistance in the form of grants to support the education sector.
Ndubuisi Nnanna, who works in the private sector, lamented that things are so difficult that he cannot remember how the previous years have been. âI just got married with a child and I have gray hair. Too many calculations, trying to manage the same salary for years. I had to go to the market to confirm the invoice my wife was sending. The women are tall, I don’t know how she does it. Anyone who claims things are better has to manipulate things to get some extra cash. It was even by luck and thanks to God that I was not sacked. The company I work for has laid off a lot of people because of the tough economy. ”