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No Christmas Celebration

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-As parents consider saving cash for school fees

By Abraham Mulbah, [email protected]

As many schools across Liberia are expected to resume regular academic activities on January 4, 2021, most parents have informed The Stage Media (TSM) that they are saving the little cash at hand to deal with the pressing matters that will secure a brighter future for their kids.

Those interviewed said, “there is nothing about Christmas to celebrate while dealing with pressing needs such as education in a difficult economic country like Liberia.”

Several Market women in both the 72nd and Red-light markets voiced their displeasure in the 2020 Christmas celebration indicating that they rather pay their children school fees than using their little savings in such a difficult economy just for “Christmas celebration.”

“With the way how things are very difficult this year, Christmas looks like an ordinary day to us,” Alberta Pajibo, who sells palm oil and dry bonnie at the 72nd market told TSM in an interview.

The marketers have, however, requested the government to do more in making sure that they are not spectators in their own economy as stated by President George M. Weah in his inaugural speech.

Excerpt of their views:

Madam Pajibo said there is nothing special about the 2020 Christmas celebration when it is very difficult to get customers due to the tough economic and the shortage of both the Liberian and US dollar currency at various commercial banks across the country.”

Madam Pajibo who claimed to have sold in the 72nd market for the past ten years said things were not as difficult as compared to 2020.

She said if things keep going at such a low pace, she foresees many parents been unable to pay their children fees something she believes will not be good for the future of Liberia.

“The only thing we can do now is for us to wake up from sleep and try hard to do something for ourselves because it {na easy} is not easy.”

Oretha Frank, another marketer in a frustrating tone said, “this year’s Christmas is extremely hard, so I will only focus on paying my children School fees not celebrating Christmas with them.”

”This other Christmas really hard and only God knows everything, right now, I’m thinking about paying my children’s school fees, I don’t have time for Christmas because this year Christmas is different from the ones we have had.”

“Things are rough, in fact, parents will not be able to pay school fees if the Christmas celebration carried them away,” added Florence Lolo, a businesswoman.

Madam Lolo said people are not even buying for Christmas resulting in them selling goods at a lower price just to get some of the money invested in the goods.

She added that “this year’s selling is not about profit but just to try harder to get some of the money we bought the goods with because if we do not do so there will be a huge loss for us. Imagine we are in the Christmas season and buying is this difficult, what will happen in January?”

Lydia Zazin, a petit business owner in the Red light market said,” thanking God for the gift of life is the only good thing about Christmas.

She called on President Weah to do everything possible to ensure market women participate in the economy as he promised during his inaugural address.

Madam Zazin said when the president stated that he would ensure to enforce the Liberalization policy, it brought joy to them,but from the look of things it seems that the pronouncement was a ‘mere bluff or political talk.’

Rachel Bull, a marketer believes Liberia at this point needs serious payers before things get off hands.

“All we need now is to pray for the country whether you Bishop, pope or even pastor, we must all pray for our country because it {na easy} is not right now, they say the country peaceful but people are suffering so it is more than a war in the country,” she said in a disappointed tone.

Mr. Vallai Dorley, an Economist and a Development specialist in an interview via telephone told TSM that despite the hardship, people should still celebrate Christmas because “it is a day set aside to give thanks and also celebrate the Lord’s birthday.”

Mr. Dorley who also teaches microeconomics and international trade at the United Methodist University (UMU) said that there are always liquidity issues especially around the festive season which he interpreted as parents finding it difficult to get their money from the bank when they need it.

He then said some parents who have money in the bank to pay their children School fees might find it difficult to do so because there is no money in various ATM machines and banks.

Mr. Dorley noted that as a result of lack of trust in the banking sectors, parents might not want to carry their money to the bank because of fear of not getting it on time.

“We see long lines at various banking houses, some are being denied rights to their own money and if they lose trust in the government nobody will want to carry their money there again especially school parents,” he said.

Mr. Dorley further called on the government of Liberia to do more economically in reducing the unemployment rate in the country.

He said, “the government needs to do more in reducing the unemployment rate because people are living at the expense of other people’s pockets especially politicians.”

Mr. Dorley said Liberia is the only country in Africa that operates with dual currency as a legal tender.

Meanwhile, he urged the government of Liberia through the finance ministry to make sure that those economic mistakes that were made in the past will be properly identified and looked out for future corrections.

” We need to do more we need to be honest with what we do, we have to be careful with the economic decision that is being made, we must not make those mistakes that were made in the past,” Mr. Dorley warned.

 

 

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