2023 came with various policies and economic difficulties.
Prominent among numerous of them was the Naira redesign project.
The deadline for deposits of old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in readiness to transit to the new designed notes, came with some migraine.
The rush to deposit the old naira notes to meet up with the deadline, and the low circulation of the new redesigned notes ushered in the great naira scarcity.
Market women were forced to adopt the use of electronic payment channels like the point of sale, PoS, terminals, Unstructured Supplementary System Data, USSD, codes of banks, internet banking and mobile wallets to carry out business payment transactions.
But, pray, how could have the old women selling fufu, crayfish or groundnut in the local markets quickly adjust to the sudden e-payment transaction without first starving to death?.
This brought in one survival strategy, the trade by barter method. It was a method where a buyer exchange a particular item to another who has an item he/she is in need of.
The following months ushered in a new administration, which introduced various economic policies, including the removal of fuel subsidy, floating of the naira in the official and unofficial markets.
Then Nigerians sprung into the survival mode as prices of fuel increased and foreign exchange rate hits N900 per dollar.
Private car owners turn commercial to augment fuel money.
The days where you see a car owner comfortably sitting in his car with the air conditioner on, while he or his driver drives gradually disappeared.
Economy&Lifestyle discovered that occupants’ cars were either colleagues, who were also car owners and take weekly turns to transport their colleagues to and from work or passengers picked up from the bus stops at a fee. This, invariably turned several private cars to commercial.
All these changes were done in a bid to make up fuel money thereby reducing the heavy burden of increase in fuel pump price .
As the economy hit hard on citizens, cost of food and soup ingredients including meat soared. Households upgraded to Panla fish as the cost of meat, chicken strayed out of reach.
Before then , the faces seen at the places panla fish were sold had a striking similarity with lack.
However, observations revealed the margin between these classes of diary sellers disappeared completely.
Faces seen in the shop of the poor women selling panla showed people who had been in wealth. interesting story!
Artisans were also not left out from the hardship of the economy Competition among artisans gradually gave way to collaboration.
Before then, artisans were known to scramble and struggle for clients and, in most cases, fight to have the highest number.
In 2023, a dearth of clients beat them to shape and introduced them to a great strength towards survival ‘collaboration’.
Households develop survival strategies
For households, 2023 was tough. The increased cost of cooking gas cylinders made it difficult for average homes to afford it and still fill gas in them.
So, they resolved to refurbish their old ones despite the danger of explosion.
Nursing mothers said goodbye to diapers, as they welcomed back napkins due to the increased prices of the former.
Food was the major priority of homes as women sold off kitchen decorative ornaments to raise money not giving a damn about fashion.
Parents had to adopt the ‘ajo’ (daily contribution of money) method in paying children school fees and schools management didnt have much of a choice but to accept it, to avoid debt.
Fashion and party Lifestyles were also affected
As we all know women are conscious of their appearance despite the ailing economy.
The high cost of goods and services made women transit from one beauty lifestyle to another.
Many women attached hip and butt pads to their gowns alongside corsets for body enhancement as the cost of liposuction became unaffordable.
For the Owambe gatecrashers, they were served in nylons to save the cost of buying takeaway packs.
The tradition of preparing chicken among other delicacies to celebrate Christmas was forfeited by households. They opted for beef as the price of chicken both frozen and live increased.
However, some people who spoke to Economy& Lifestyle said the hardship in 2023 will continue this year as the government is still battling with insecurity, naira stability among other macro economic factors.
Mr. Adeji Oluwaseyi, a clergyman said: “The hardship in 2023 will continue in 2024. Nigerians will continue to generate and adopt modes to survive these hardships.
“Diversification is one key I will advice Nigerians to continue to embrace. This is one survival mode that has helped many businesses last year.
“The harder the economy the bigger spaces of needs to meet.
“People will continue to cut down costs.
There will be little patronage of wears also . How many clothes do you put on in a month?
“Entertainment will continue to be because Nigerians are wild when it comes to enjoying themselves.”
Mrs Amanda Collins, a business woman said that she believes that no matter how difficult the economy may be this year Nigerians will surely find a way to move on.
“Even the rich are crying. There is nobody that is not feeling the heat in the country now.
“I have four shops when we entered 2023. Today I am left with two. I had to forego two to keep up with rent payment.
“Those two were in areas businesses reduced last year.
“So I had to maintain the remaining two.
“No matter how difficult it is in Nigeria, people will survive.
This year, people will cut cost the more. Those using two to three cars will go for one once they realize their expenses on two cars can be forgone.
“Others buying irrelevant things will drop it. Even the enjoyment lifestyle in beer parlours, buying of aso Ebi and many other frivolous spendings on lifestyle will reduce.”