Monday, June 29, 2009

Crunchy Crunch In The Ghanaian Markets

In recent months, one phrase which has become a household name is the credit crunch, and many cannot help but wonder how crunchy this crunch is, that it seems to find itself on every economic menu served on this planet and especially in Ghana!

One Saturday afternoon before the rains started coming, I went together to the Tema Community One market to shop for food stuffs with my sister-in-law and there, I got my most detailed explanation of this new credit crunchy crunch. My desire for some obviously over-aged sausages turned out to be an economic class. A pack of tiny looking sausages which hitherto went for one Ghana cedi (or Ten Thousand Cedis as some of the market women prefer to call it), had been doubled and was being sold for two Ghana Cedis ( Twenty Thousand Cedis). When I protested, a fellow shopper quickly exclaimed in Twi “abrantie, ei na wo nnim se Credit Crunch aba?” [tran: young man, are you oblivious of the credit crunch?] The attendants sat calmly nodding their heads in silent agreement.

My hunger for knowledge brewed in the Ghanaian market increased. So I firmly asked what a lack of credit options globally, had to do with my modest desire of munching some tiny sausages. “There is no money everywhere, the system is hard so everything is going up, even if you have the money you can’t get things to buy” was the reply. Before I could say Jack, the attendants exclaimed “we cannot do anything about it so we are in it like that, Brother are you buying it or not?” Immediately, I realized my class was over!

One fact I took home that day was the statement of the attendant, “we cannot do anything about it so we are in it like that”. It likely would take a whole financial committee to access the financial implications of this statement, however, I do know for a fact that there is a need for each and everyone to survive this economic downturn because “we are in it like that”.

One dimension of the credit crunch which has been overlooked is the health implications of the development on the wellness of the corporate world which is a huge component of national development. Think of the long winding hours spent at work strategizing and re-strategizing and its attendant stresses, poor diet patterns, eating “Kofi broke-man” and high blood pressures, uncertainties, frustrations, and deepened stress about job security in the wake of large job cuts and shrinking economies, the lack of available resources to keep up with activities like visiting the gym and exercising, playing soccer or basketball, and the like, a reduction in healthy wellness alternatives, and check up rates in hospitals.

It is unfortunate to see many employees resorting to soda and snacks instead of balanced diets during lunch. Lunch time seems to be woven seamlessly into mainstream work time. This situation seems to be worsening by the day, with many institutions feeling a pinch from the credit crunch. Employees are working longer, strategizing more, and unfortunately sacrificing their lunch which is an essential component of body development.

What’s more, many employees are worried about job security, layoffs and their impact on workload, fewer credit options at high interest rates and so on. However, what can you really do about the current economic situation? How would fretting and constant pessimistic thoughts make the situation any better? Undue frustrations and worry leads to a body not at ease (dis-ease).

Are you willing to spend your scare income on treatment of a dis-ease body?


MIghTy African said...

Love the Kofi-broke man picture hehe!

So credit crunch catch Ghana? Wow, where shall we go now? I heard there are plans to launch a credit rating system though. Was discussing with a couple of Odadees about the credit card system here and how the economic crisis has been borne from people spending outside of their means. Do we want to go the same route in Ghana whereby people are living large on borrowed money and borrowed time?
I don't think so. We should watch before we leap.

Isaac Asiamah said...

It's certainly interesting to learn abt the Ghanaian view of the credit crunch ...and your article does a perfect job of capturing this....through rather humorous lenses...keep'em coming..