Once known for its vibrant social scene, cost conscious Nigerians are now cutting down on their social life over rising cost of living and dwindling income.
With inflation at 21.47 percent, and a struggling economy, money worries have forced many who were lovers of socializing to start cutting back on their social activities.
Now, people are reluctant to spend their hard-earned money on social events, opting instead to save it for necessities. This is making the days when families would gather together for a night of music, dancing, and feasting becoming a thing of the past.
Bolu Makinde, a Lagos-based data analyst described how money worry is affecting her 10-year-long friendship ritual.
“For two months now my group of five friends has been unable to continue with our monthly hangout,” she said.
According to her, the total cost of their meetup has surged from N250,000 to N350,000, this includes transport fare, food and drinks, hotel, and many other things.
She noted that the hangout has sustained her friendship with her friends after their tertiary education.
“The hangout is how we have kept in touch with each other for 10 years and now soaring costs with little money is threatening our tradition,” she said.
Small businesses, such as bars, clubs, and restaurants have been worst hit as Nigerians cut down on socializing.
With fewer customers coming through their doors, many have been forced to close down. This, in turn, has resulted in a loss of jobs and other economic struggles for those affected.
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Emeka Chike, a trader at Alaba market said he now avoids socialising outside. “Last year during the football season, I watched matches at viewing centers, I bought drinks and pepper soup for my friends during the match to relax from the day’s tension.
“Now, I go to my house to watch with a bottle of beer, any extra money is for important things at home.”
The situation has affected not only the middle class but also the wealthy. Many wealthy Nigerians have adjusted to the economic climes by limiting their spending to a handful of guests, instead of inviting hundreds.
“I noticed that a lot of people do not have a reception after weddings anymore due to its cost. The wedding I attended last week was very scanty, unlike the usual Lagos party, only half of the hall was occupied and people did not spray like they normally did,” Olaitan Bakare, a fashion designer said.
She also said that though money worries may have forced Nigerians to cut back on socializing, it has kept their love of community and their desire to come together and celebrate life.
The most recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) shows that operators of micro, small and medium scale enterprises in the country declined by 4.3 percent from 41.5 million in 2017 to 39.7 million in 2020.
Their contribution to GDP for the period also declined from 50 percent in 2017 to 46.3 percent. Experts say there would be a further drop when the figure for 2022 is released