High cost of living cripples artisans’ savings culture June 20, 2022

It is not how much you make each month that matters; it is how much you save with the flexibility and time outside work that you have, says Francis Shenstone.

A disciplined and regular savings culture could, over time, lead to accumulated wealth. However, the drastic rise in prices of goods and services in Nigeria today, is making even the once rich become poor, let alone save.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, joined the World Bank to express concerns over rising inflation on the welfare of Nigerians, saying 40 per cent of the population now live below the poverty line due to the impact of rising food prices.

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Artisans under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, sector of the economy are not left out of the inflation woes.

The situation has succeeded in sending their savings culture to the great beyond.

A vulcanizer, Jamiu Akinmisi, who spoke to Economy&LifeStyle, claims that he doesn’t have any savings, up till this time, due to the situation of the economy.

“I pump a tire for N200. Sometimes most customers pay N100. I make up to N5,000 a day when business thrives. I have three kids and a wife.

“The expenses for feeding my family a day consumes nothing less than N4, 000. Now, if you remove my transportation, you can see I barely have up to N500 to save.

“It was not like this four years ago. Yet we have rise in patronage these days, due to most drivers buying low quality tires to reduce cost , but, they pay less because the economy is bad and we also consider them because, at the end of the day, we have bills to settle.

“Even when we make the money,the rising price of goods and services has made it difficult for us to save.”

Also, Mrs Felicia Ajenumo, a fried fish seller is not left out in this dilemma. “I am a mother of two kids. My husband lost his job last year. I just had to sell this to feed my family.

“The state of the economy has killed my saving culture. Before I used to save up to N100, 000 in a year; but now I have not saved anything since the beginning of this year.

“I don’t even have anything in my bank account as my business money and profit are used to take care of expenses. “Sometimes I take loans online and strive hard to pay so that I will be able to borrow another,” she said.

However, Gbenga Olowoshaga an experienced barber who has spent 19 years in the profession, said he has never experienced the kind of low savings he is going through now, before. He confessed to  always use his savings to cover up emergency expenses these days.

“I have been in this business for 19 years and have never experienced such a terrible economic situation as this. Before Covid’19 pandemic I used to save up to N70, 000 per month but now I hardly save N30, 000 per month.

“This is due to the rising cost of living. I now borrow from friends to meet some of my needs because I can’t stand the tiring procedures of getting a loan from the bank.”

Managing Director/Chief Executive Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Mr. Bello Hassan said that 99.4 percent of bank accounts contain less than N500,000.

Also Enhancing Financial Innovation and  Access (EFInA)  report for 2020, says 32 per cent of the adult population has a savings-related product at a regulated financial institution and/or has saved through a regulated financial institution in the last 12 months


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