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Monday, May 27, 2024


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Report by Edward FRIMPONG

Ghanaians are noted for observing Christmas to the most extreme; it is during this event that families accumulate to cook their #1 food source, with drinks in overflow, which are imparted to family members and friends and family. The event is portrayed by music and dance, devouring, and different exercises to make it fun.

Natives of various towns, cities, and villages who are living elsewhere to seek greener pastures return to their places of origin to celebrate with their families and hold deliberations together.

But with just less than two months to December, it appears that many Ghanaians might not be able to celebrate this year’s Christmas with the usual excitement that normally characterizes it.

This observation stems from the myriad of economic challenges that have overwhelmed the Ghanaian economy amid downgrades by internationally recognized rating agencies even as the government is currently in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help to restore the economy to its feet.

High inflation rate versus low salaries: Although inflation has reached an all-time high, with prices of commodities rising astronomically by the day, Ghanaian workers have not seen commensurate salary increments to cushion them against the effects of the economic challenge. This situation has left many people with no option but to live from hand to mouth, with some losing their savings due to the need to survive.

Again, there are many people, including the recently discharged Nation Builders Corpse (NABCO) trainees and other graduates, who have no jobs and struggle to fend for themselves and their dependents.

Inability to save: As stated above, with prices of commodities rising by each passing day, people are unable to save money or plan their lives, let alone think about making provisions for Christmas.

High cost of living (High rent charges, cost of lorry fares, food, utilities, rent, among others): With the cost of living increasing, planning and saving towards Christmas might not even cross people’s minds, or even if it does, they might just brush it aside because it is mission impossible.

A cost-effective analysis would show that if people want to travel to their hometowns to celebrate Christmas, they might lose a huge chunk of the little money they have to transport costs and might not be able to afford much for the occasion when they arrive, due to skyrocketing prices, which might get worse in the coming days.

There is also the danger of not being able to get money to return to their places of work from their hometowns if people insist on celebrating Christmas at all costs the way they did in previous years.

Companies may not give bonuses: Companies and employers are not exempt from the hardship that is prevailing in the country. Most of them may be compelled to lay off their employees soon, and they may not be in a good financial position to give Christmas bonuses to workers this year. Already, they are struggling to survive due to the depreciation of the Ghana Cedi against other major currencies, among other challenges.

Further downgrade: While the government said it was hoping that the conversations with the IMF would yield a semblance of positive results before the year ends, the latest information, observations, and views expressed by some analysts show that that might only be a mirage.

Despite the ongoing discussion between the government of Ghana and the IMF, with stakes being high and Ghanaians having their fingers crossed to see what change the outcome might make to the prevailing situation, Moody’s latest rating of Ghana’s economy has pushed it further into a junk status.

As if that and the previous ones by other rating agencies were not heartbreaking and frightening enough, the World Bank has said that its assessment of Ghana’s economy shows that the country is in high debt distress.

With all the above-stated issues and many others bedeviling the Ghanaian economy and the concomitant hardship they impose on Ghanaians, it will be safe to keep expectations low about Christmas to avoid disappointment. This is the time for parents to start working on the psyche of their children to lower their expectations.

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