• Monday, June 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigerians can’t afford new phones as economy bites

Entry-level Chinese phones expand smartphone penetration in Nigeria

Solomin Ajala, a 30-year-old digital marketer, had minimised his expenses since November 2022 in a bid to get new phones for himself and his fiance around March the following year. This was the plan until the country was disrupted by the realities of naira scarcity and other economic factors.

According to Ajala, everything changed when he could no longer afford transport to work after he had spent a lot buying cash and paying for PoS charges, which prompted him to spend the money he set aside for this project.

“I think many people are not talking about projects this year. Being able to afford basic needs is already a project in the country now. All plans to get myself and my fiance a new phone have been pending since this year despite the preparations I made for it and I think we will be managing our old phone since it is still functional. Since the beginning of the year, the country has been encountering one issue or the other from naira scarcity, down to inflation and petrol scarcity, which have left a negative mark on the economy. I don’t think I’m talking about any gadget again because the money I saved for them is now saving me,” Ajala said.

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Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that the country’s inflation rate as of June 2023 stood at 22.79 percent, but analysts say it should be higher because of the tough economic condition of the country since the beginning of the year which keeps spiking up.

For Anthony Ekwe, a motor parts dealer at Ladipo market, his plan was to change his television, which has been malfunctioning, and also upgrade his cable TV subscription to enable him to watch all the football matches this upcoming season without visiting a viewing centre.

Ekwe said the plan is now the least on his budget as he is considering how to keep his business running and pay for daily transport to work amidst the current situation of the country.

He said: “I am a sports lover and I made a decision to change my television and GoTv before the next coming football season to enable me to watch and follow all the football updates at my convenience but all plans failed. The new season is almost here and I have not saved half of the money. The market is so dry that we are now looking for ways to keep up and continue striving to make the business stand.

“If things continue the way it is going, I doubt if I will be capable of doing the project because changing the television alone is a big project on its own not to talk of purchasing the DSTV and paying for a monthly subscription. Even if I have it now, I don’t think I can maintain it. Hence, I don’t regret not getting it despite the fact that it is very necessary to get it. I will get them but I’m no longer in a hurry.”

A survey carried out by our correspondent within CMS and Ikotun axis shows that five out of 10 people with plans to change their gadgets, especially phones have been forced to adjust their plans due to the current realities.

Why many of the people surveyed said they were unable to change their already overused phones, some said they managed to get new ones but couldn’t buy the ones they wanted because the prices increased and they couldn’t afford the.

“I wanted to buy a Samsung but the price was above my expectations. My budget for it was N90,000 but the price was about N120,000. I was left with no choice but to go for Infinix, which I’m using now,” said Afamefule Obi, a boutique owner at Ilewe.

Kayode Joshua, a popular sports betting agent at Liasu Road, Idimu said he planned to add more desktops to his business this coming season to attract more betting customers and give them a better experience but he’s yet to achieve it.

He said: “This is still achievable because it’s my source of income so I have no option but to find a way to do it. The change there is that I will not go for the number I wanted because both the price increased, and considering the state of the country, I don’t even need to put all I have there because I don’t know if I will get customers as before.

“This is a new season and people are not finding it easy financially. So I will wait till two months after the season kicks off. If I see that customers are coming as usual, I will add more desktops but if not, I will just replace the ones that are faulty and manage the business like that till things fall in place again.”

Gadgets have become very crucial in human activities, especially smartphones helping people to keep up and thrive in the face of technological advancement and innovations.