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?

Friday, June 26, 2009

I write Naija

Nigerians can talk. We all know it – from the office, to the marketplace, to the village square and from the city – Nigerians make it a point to have their voices heard but today, I am doing a piece on them here..!!!

Today I want to take you into the literary landscape of Nigeria-Naija-9ja, and not just the regular. In the past few years, it seems that our output in literature has grown in leaps and bounds even in the face of poverty and other hindrances. A Nigerian has now won the Booker – Ben Okri, the Orange – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who also got the MacArthur Genius Grant), and the Man Booker International Prize – Chinua Achebe for his lifetime achievements. Need I forget Wole Soyinka who won the first Nobel Prize for Literature in Africa. I know, there are a couple of Ghanaians in the publishing industry worth mentioning but this piece is centered on my Naija people...

I am a proud member of the Ghana Blogging Group that meets once in a month to discuss and jaw-jaw on topical issues, set agenda's towards a cause we are aiming to bring into the light and also and socialize which is the part I do love.. Yes, you heard me.. I do LOVE... I am always reading Nana Sekyiamah's blog because, I get to read a lot I won't hear from my female partners.. She discusses issues which won't gain grounds in the Ghanaian open circle... Below is a group photograph of the Ghana Bloggers Group...

At the mention of someone been in a Nigerian, some many negative stuffs comes into mind. First on the list is; Fraud, Money Laundering, Armed Robbery, Prostitution and lastly, Rituals for money but trust me, Nuna even said, at the mention of a person to be a Niaja-man, she always sees "that person is looking for a cheap Ghanaian gal to explore..." My dear follower-cum-reader, there are couple of Nigerians in this country who are really positive and got businesses going on in Ghana and re making it big....

Take for instance, the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Ovation Magazine, Chief Momodu Dele. He's got a business going on, created employment for the youth in Ghana and at least, he's a respected resident. My trip to Nigeria in the fall of 2004 took me to Victoria Island (It is the main business and financial center of Lagos, Nigeria), where I was hosted by a long distance Aunt who married a Nigerian doctor. I stayed for a couple of weeks before returning to Accra.

During my days in VI, I learn from the everyday life of the Naija man and till day, I am able to live and dwell in anywhere I find myself. The saying, "if you can stay in Lagos, you can live everywhere" is very true. I was having a chat with a friend of my aunt who works in the same hospital as her and this is what, he said about Ghana when he visited with his family for Xmas..

Everything is so organized and so straight forward. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly it was unbelievable. Life is reasonably cheaper and more relaxing than Naija. You come home there is constant power. You drive anyhow on the street and you are given an alcohol test, if you fail you face a jail sentence of 3 months. Petrol stations are open 24 hours a day with built in supermarkets like Europe. The whole city works on traffic lights 24 hrs a day.

The police are friendly and do not disturb anyone, in fact every police station has a telephone number for emergencies. Crime rate is very very low and in fact; its sad to know that all crime there are committed are by Nigerians or Liberian refugees. I put on the television one day and on the news, found out they caught a gang of 12 robbers terrorizing Kumasi in which 9 were Nigerians.

Honestly, I can go on and on and on, but I think experience is the best teacher. If any of you have any holidays, pay a visit to Accra and you will never regret. I am buying a house there and sending my family there by the middle of this year. I met a lot of Nigerians who have houses and their families there while they work here. I met a lot who are sending their children to school there and they come here on holidays because education is better in there. It is very sad, but the truth is painful. As much as you love and care for Nigeria, you don't get that in return...

This is what; a Nigerian citizen is saying about my beloved country Ghana.. What would a Ghanaian say about Nigeria...???

P.S: I am a Ghanaian blogger. This post is my contribution for our universal posting day