• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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Nigerians devise survival tactics amid economic woes

After moving his family from Lekki to Ogudu, both in Lagos, due to the over 100 percent increment in house rent in his former pricey neighbourhood, Daniel Dongo, a banker, is also in search of new schools for his three children.

“I returned to work on a Friday in June and my wife handed over to me a letter of house rent increment of 75 percent for a three-bedroom flat per year,” he lamented.

Though Dongo could struggle to pay the new rent at least for a year, the notice of fee increment from a notable private school in Lekki Phase II which his three children attend made him change his mind.

“There is no money anywhere; that is why I have moved to an area where I can afford the rent and school fees,” he said.

In his case, Timothy Ajemba, a middle-level immigration officer, travelled on a night bus from Lagos to Abuja in order to meet an emergency at his office headquarters and also return the next day to attend the burial of a very close colleague.

Read also:Amid economic hardship, Nigerians spend millions on betting

He said: “For the first time in my 15-year career, I took the risk of travelling on a night bus because an air return ticket from Lagos to Abuja was very expensive considering that my travel was an emergency.

“But I denied myself night sleep, risked being robbed, accident and other challenges because there is no free money to spend again. House rent, school fees, housekeeping allowances, car maintenance and even allowances to my parents have increased. I was just being prudent and it worked despite the huge risk,” he said.

The above experiences reflect the ugly situations facing many Nigerians, courtesy of the hard economic realities in the country today, especially since the removal of fuel subsidy in May.

However, as the economic woes bite, Nigerians have been exploring and adopting means to ride the storm.

But the ride has not been easy for many as prices are still increasing.

BusinessDay’s findings showed auto dealers and importers are facing the heat more as many are no longer buying first-grade fairly-used cars because of their high prices.

Daniel Agboola, an auto dealer in Apapa, lamented poor sales this year.

He noted that the government, companies and politicians are the ones who can afford new cars now and that people are searching for car auction sales by government and companies because the fairly-used ones are very expensive now.

“There is hunger in the land. You need to eat first and get shelter over your head before talking about a car. So, I am not surprised that people are now going for Nigerian-used cars instead of imported fairly-used ones,” he said.

Emeka Mordi, a lecturer at University of Nigeria Nsukka, has learnt some mechanic skills that enable him to fix his car and save costs. He now services his car himself changing engine oil, oil filter and plugs.

“My mechanic encouraged me to buy some tools and he taught me how to do the easing fixings. I am happy to learn and apply that knowledge,” he said on social media platform X.

Sesan Adeyeye, a portfolio manager, pointed out that Nigerians’ survival instincts are guiding their choices.

Read also:CIoD Nigeria conference to deepen conversation on economic diversification

“Every consumer has preferences, but in the face of challenging economic conditions, adjustments are necessary for survival,” Adeyeye said.

Ogugua Belonwu, founder and chief executive officer at MyJobMag, said the rising cost of living has made it difficult for people to survive on their previous salaries.

“This development forces them to start their businesses, especially on social media just to make ends meet,” Belonwu said.

Inflation in Africa’s largest city hit a new 18-year high of 26.72 percent in September 2023 owing to higher food prices and foreign exchange.

Muda Yusuf, chief executive officer of the Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprises, said that it is now tougher for organisations, particularly SMEs as they do not have shock absorbers to withstand macroeconomic shocks.

“Nigerians are known for their resilience, but the current circumstances are exceptionally tough, especially given the rising cost of living, which has had a devastating impact. People are grappling with the necessities, struggling to put food on the table,” he said.