Some Nigerians resident in the South-East zone of the country have said that the current economic recession has impacted negatively on their general well-being.
In a random survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the respondents said it was now difficult to enjoy three square meals a day.
According to them, every aspect of their lives is affected, especially meeting their children’s requirements at school.
A civil servant in Enugu State, Mr Joseph Eze, said that he had stopped visiting his friends or going out after work because he could no longer afford the leisure.
“I am considering leaving my village association because I am finding it difficult to attend them every month. Everything has changed for the worse but the salary remains the same; it is unfair.
“Those of us who are workers are complaining that things are expensive in the market but when you listen to traders, you tend to pity them. The problem is all round,’’ Eze said.
A petty trader, Mrs Alice Anikwe, said that the prices of commodities had changed so rapidly that she found it difficult to replenish her stock.
“By the time you return to the market to buy new stock, the price would have gone higher than the money you have, so we are always in deficit,’’ she said.
A bus driver, Mr Jonas Ugoji, noted that the cost of maintaining a vehicle had been on the increase, adding that the stability of petrol price has not had any positive impact on the sector.
“From the charges by electricians, mechanics and vulcanisers, not to talk of the cost of spare parts, no transporter will tell you that anything is okay,’’ he said.
In Owerri, the Imo capital, a civil servant, Mr Ezekiel Opara, said that the 50 percent salary cut had imposed enormous hardship on his capacity to take care of his aged mother and family.
Opara attributed the recession to over dependence on oil and called for economic diversification.
“We have neglected agriculture, but all of us feed and clothe from agriculture products.
“We destroy our forest in the name of building; government should have some reserved areas for agriculture.”
Opara advised that state governments should be encouraged to develop international tourists’ centres while micro and macro industrial sectors should be encouraged by the Federal Government with tax reduction.
Similarly, Mrs Josephine Amadi, a lecturer with the School of Nursing, Owerri, said the recession forced her to cut expenses.
Amadi, also a pastor’s wife, said tithing and offerings had drastically reduced in her church, adding: “the recession is biting hard.’’
She said that her husband’s message had equally changed to be more of encouragement; “people have to be encouraged to remain faithful.’’
On how to remedy the situation, Mr Longinus Anyanwu, a journalist urged politicians to invest stolen funds in agriculture.
Another journalist and former NUJ Chairman, Imo Council, Mr Ferdinald Ibecheozo, said: “The recession has affected my life style. I no longer eat what I want to eat.
“Prices of things have skyrocketed; it is now luxury to eat three square meals a day. Also for some time now, I have not bought new wears,” he said.
“The Federal Government should change some of its economic policies such as the policy on foreign exchange.
“There is need for the Federal Government to increase workers’ salary without further delay. Prices of goods are high, yet workers are still receiving the same salary.’’
To check the recession, Mr Thompson Anyadike, an Owerri-based business man, suggested that the government should shun ethnicity, political and religious affiliations and look for the best brains to grow the economy .
He said that government should also encourage local producers like the Aba business men and give local farmers incentives.
“Government should look into untapped areas of the economy and encourage young boys to delve into them.’’
In Awka, the Anambra capital, some residents who also commented on the issue, said that their major challenge was how to meet their basic needs in order to survive.
A civil servant, Mr Ikem Offor, said his family had dropped some items on the food menu in spite of their importance to the health and development of the children.
Offor said what mattered most now was how to meet the educational bills of the children and how to provide foods that could sustain the family.
“In my house, we no longer drink tea, eat fruits and other items because our finances cannot accommodate them; we just eat what is enough to keep us going.
Also speaking, a trader, Mrs Jane Akaraka, said that the spending pattern of her family had shifted from luxuries to basic necessities, adding that patronage of her business had also dropped.
Another civil servant, who identified himself simply as Reginald, said saving was now difficult as there was nothing left after spending; adding that lack of savings was a bad omen for any economy.
Reginald said that due to the fuel price increase, he had decided to park his car and use public transportation instead while also cutting down on his movement.
Also, a cross-section of journalists and civil servants in Umuahia, the Abia capital, said that the irregular payment of salaries, rising inflation rate and high cost of healthcare, among others, had worsened the economic recession.
Joseph Chibunna and Emma Woke, said that their lives had become more miserable due to the irregular payment of salaries by the state government.
They said that it had become more difficult for them to meet their personal needs such as feeding and payment of house rent.
“I have dipped hands in the money I saved for my marriage and other projects I proposed for the year in order to feed and remain alive,’’ Chibunna said.
He said that he had suspended his marriage and other projects, pending an improvement in the economic situation.