Malawi economic woes affect Christmas festivities

Some business executives and consumers in Malawi have described this year’s Christmas and festive season as the worst because the country is going through economic crisis never seen since independence in 1964.

Random interviews by Nyasa Times in Lilongwe, Zomba and Blantyre show that many people have now just restricted their December budget to priorities such as food, rentals plus school fees and not merry making as has always been the case in previous festive seasons.

A resident of Area 23, Lack Chipuni aged 51 said although his employer gave the 13th cheque, there was no way he could consider taking his family to lake holidays and not even his village as prices of everything is now rising.

Broke Santa in Malawi

“Look at the queues everywhere at Admarc, fuel stations and even at Sobo whether we want to buy maize, soft drinks and fuel we have to line-up but the commodities are not there so how does one consider going for a holiday anywhere? Where is our leadership to resolve all this? ,” queried Chipuni.

Most of those interviewed said they have just resorted to buying adequate food and paying school fees for their wards in advance before schools open on January 3.

“The way things are now economically, any responsible parent would go back to the basics in having food first, proper shelter and clothing we cannot afford luxuries we have to send our children back to school so no choice but cut all the excess and prioritise,” said Anne Chibwe of Zomba.

Stiff-tough

The business sector has not been spared either as it is being forced to pay highly for foreign exchange acquisition and fuel both which are a rare occurence in the once ‘Warm heart of Africa’.

Chitawira Shopping Centre Managing Director Lingson Phekani said there was no way any shop could run sales promotion as things are now stiff-tough.

“This is the worst Christmas I have ever gone through as a person and business because we buying everything expensively and sadly this has to be passed to consumers. The way things are now no sensible business can run sales promotion to reduce price as it would make losses,” said Phekani.

So as the world goes to have its share of the 2011 festive season the common people in Malawi will be on a queue either the one leading to buy maize, fuel or indeed the soft drinks so that at least they can say merry Christmas to their loved ones back home.

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