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When economic challenges threaten Christmas festivity



When economic challenges threaten Christmas festivity

GLOBALLY, the Christmas season is a period when Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Annually, Christians look up to the celebration of the nativity of Christ with great expectations and enthusiasm.

The holiday season in Nigeria is always an annually repeated scenario of feasts, a season of celebration for all beliefs irrespective of religious faith within a community.

With few days to Christmas celebration, the usual expectations, preparedness, ecstasy and upbeats that accompany the season are not been felt.

The period is faced with lamentations, indifference, anxiety and complaints occasioned by the dwindling economy, insecurity, hike in food prices, petrol increases and no increase in salaries.

The issue of insecurity in the country seems not to be abating.  Insecurity has taken a more sinister dimension than previously.

Insecurity has been felt in all the geopolitical zones of the country. As such families wishing to travel for the yuletide will be apprehensive that the insecurity situation may get worse as the festive season draws near. This would lead to a rethink about embarking on any journey for many Nigerians whose habit it is to travel to their ancestral homes during yuletide.

Christmas is a festive season and food prices skyrocket due to high demands for it.  Food prices have been increasing all year round and the cost of staple foods have gone beyond the affordability of many Nigerians.

For example, a 50kg bag of rice is now sold for about N36,000, 10 litres of vegetable oil go for about N13,000.00 and these prices vary depending on brands of products.

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Next to food prices issue is the rising cost of petrol which goes for about N200 per litre and has led to increase in transport fares throughout the country.

On the other hand, workers groan over poor salaries with little or no increment in most cases.

Many families have been struggling to put food on their table as well as settling house rents, school fees and sundry expenses.  With such mounting bills to settle, many may not be celebrating the yuletide with usual grandeur.

Traders have also lamented about low patronage. They revealed that the purchasing power of buyers had dropped significantly.

Also rising inflation and lower wages, households are looking at several ways to cut costs this festive season.

Commenting on the issue Dayo Olokor, a resident of Ibadan expressed mixed feelings about the festive season, saying that due to the ailing economic situation, he will have a lean Christmas celebration for his family, hoping that things will improve next year.

“We ought to have started seeing the impact of the celebration everywhere but on the contrary everywhere is dry except for few offices that have been decorated with Christmas colours to symbolize the mood of the season,” he said.

To Christian Madu, despite the economic situation, Christmas remains a special day that nothing can change its importance and celebration in the society.

The likelihood of a lean Christmas celebration this year is further entrenched by the recent Central Bank of Nigeria’s redesign of the currency in an attempt to mop up what the institution considers as excess liquidity in the economy. With this policy, there would be less cash available for individuals with which to celebrate the Christmas.

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