By Chukwudi Anagbogu(08063305177)
A friend of mine recently 'imported' a 'First Class tokumbo' 14-seater bus. It was when he was negotiating contractual terms with a prospective commercial driver, who he eventually leased the bus to ,that I discovered to my chagrin that a bus conductor plying the Awka - Onitsha road earns an average of 3,000 naira a day as stipends, excluding of course other unremmitted takings which may even be upto the amount. I did a mental calculation and realised that if a conductor works for the entire 30 days in a month, he goes home with 90,000 naira! Instantly, I began to envy them. That evening, I discussed with a friend about the prospect of going into transport business, even as a conductor (forget the graduate stuff, money is money, no matter how it comes, provided it's genuine). I actually met a man in his house who just paid off some workers who did a Job for him at his building site. The man made me to understand that a day pay for a mason is 4,500 naira while that of a labourer is 3000 naira. This discovery prompted me to make further research where I found out that the unskilled workers we actually sympathize with and look down on, actually earn a lot more than federal civil servants. So, why do so many of them still lead wretched lives and live in pitiable and unsavory environment? The answer is not far-fetched : wastefulness and squandermania!
Have you ever noticed that despite the poor economic situation in the country, fast food joints, bars, super-markets, hotels and the hospitality industry still enjoy appreciable patronage. So where does the money come from?
It is said that if you spend money buying what u don't need, you will end up selling what you need. Misplacement of priorities is our problem. A lot of people live in poverty,not because they don't earn money, but they live above their means. A rich man is not judged by how much he earns, but by what he has left after expenditure. Funny enough, most local pubs are patronized mainly by the so-called low income earners. If one earns 30,000 naira a month and drinks two bottles of beer daily, one ends up spending 12000 naira monthly on just beers,thereby eating into the money meant for more useful ventures. Thus, the basic needs would be left unattended to. Fast food joints that sell at outrageous prices still record high sales. A lot of people who go there do so just to impress. There u find men who owe their respective landlords house rents buying a plate of rice(2 spoons for that matter) and chicken worth over a thousand naira for a girlfriend whose father could barely afford a cup of local rice.
Let us stop leading false lives. Granted, there are a lot of people who don't even earn one naira. They are the people who deserve sympathy. While I advocate a significant upward review of workers' salaries to be at par with the increasing cost of living, we learn to tighten our belts and live within our means(and that includes taking family planning seriously, in order to have less mouths to feed).
What prevents one from opting for local rice instead of the imported ones, or fish in place of meat, or buy handsets that are reasonably priced? Remember, a penny saved is a penny gained. No matter your age, profession or responsibly, imbibe savings culture.