Make no mistake about it, a recession is here. While we do not know how long or painful it will be, we do know that it has the potential to be the worst financial crisis any of us have ever lived through.
NIGERIAN students have described this recession as a nightmare owing to the fact that the allowances, otherwise known as pocket money, they get from their benefactors did not increase as the price of things did. Hence, the money they have to spend on textbooks, typing assignments and even feeding, has not increased with the price.
In an economy as tough as this one, you may need to change your business drastically to pull through.
Here Quadlife did a survey of tertiary institutions across Nigeria to bring to the fore the woes of students and measures they are taking to survive, as they call on their parents and most importantly, the government to come to the aid of their benefactors and invariably their aid too.
Lamenting to Quadlife, Chioma Ike, a 200l student of the University of Lagos, complained that she barely survives as her parents had to slash her allowance from N20,000 to N15,000. Her words, “That N5,000 removed seems little but it feels as if half of the money was removed. How do I feed, pay for my assignments at the print stand, eat and afford other miscellaneous expenses like toiletries and even recharging my phones?
“What our parents and government don’t know is that if they are forcing us to cut corners, some students might attempt to go into armed robbery, for the guys or engage in prostitution as a female. Government should find ways to increase workers’ salary, our parents wages, else they will see an increase of youths’ misdemeanor.”
For Akpan Essien, a final year student of University of Calabar, whose parents give him N7,000 for two semesters said he had to plead with them to increase it. “Despite the increment of my allowance to N10,000, I barely survive. Though Calabar is known for its richness in availability of food, the money to afford the items is high.” Akpan said.
Oluwaseun Adetayo, a Masters student of University of Lagos said due to the economic situation, she had to come up with a business venture where she provides goods and services; skin care products and event management. “Despite subsiding the prices of her services, customers and students still find it difficult to patronise me. Students are suffering because their allowances are little compared to the living conditions in the country.”
A second year student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, God’s Promise Chigbo said her parents still give her the same amount as before the recession, adding that the money is insufficient to purchase necessary items as a result of increase in prize of goods. Another second year student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, who identified herself as Elizabeth said, “The recession has affected me badly. My dad used to give me N20,000 every month prior the recession, now my dad only sends me N7,000.
It is not enough but I have to manage it. I used to eat three times daily, now I economize. I now do the 0-1-1 or 1-0-1 formula. I eat in the morning, skip afternoon then eat at night. I have cut most of my expenses. If you have passed through school, you will know the importance of having extra change in your pocket. The fact that the economy of the country is undergoing recession is quite frustrating to an average Nigerian that has responsibilities to carter for.”
Private varsity students are not left out from the bite of the economic downturn as a final year student of Benson Idahosa University, Edo State, who wishes to be known as Ehi, said her pocket money has not increased despite the recession and she explains her survival tactics thus; “They nearly burnt down a hostel so the school authorities banned cooking in the hostels. Hence, cooking my own food while in school is out of the question.
There are restaurants in and around the school, so even before recession we have not been cooking our food. Food sellers use to sell N100 rice, now they no longer sell at N100. It is N150 and above. The solution is to eat other things besides rice. Another option is to reduce the rations. Textbooks are a must, we do not have a choice, but stomach infrastructure, there, adjustments are very necessary.”
Ifeyinwa Egbeka, a student of University of Port Harcourt, said one survival tactic is to photocopy or borrow textbooks; “Since the pocket money did not increase the way prices of things have increased, the solution is to adjust. For instance, when I cannot afford to buy textbooks, I either photocopy the portion required or borrow the textbook to read and return to the owner.
Fewer rations and quantities
“As for feeding; I stay off campus and usually bring foodstuffs from home. Fortunately, I have an Aunt in town who tops it up when foodstuffs have finished before the semester is over. Nonetheless, I buy other essentials like gas and perishables which are more expensive. I try to eat less and manage more, fewer rations and quantities. A few times neighbours come and ask and I give when I can. I am pretty sure it is worse in the hostels because they have more friends.”
From all indications students have been moved to taking care of their needs and totally ignoring their wants. This could be considered a plus for some parents as it tells of their young ones making decisions just as full fledged adults do. However, there might be some downsides for those who are already at the bottom rung of the economic ladder even before the recession, talk more of now that there is a recession.