Thursday, November 24, 2016 7:.20am / Ologbon-ori Taiwo
Salary is low and stagnant, Inflation is high and rising, Interest rate is high, CBN is not ready to stimulate growth, No expansionary fiscal policy on sight yet, FG stimulus/palliative package is yet to come, Naira is crashing day-by-day, borrowing proposal by FG has been politicized beyond limit, and shortage of FX is affecting supply of basic essential needs (food and drugs). There is a big economic problem ahead of us and it seems we are clueless.
The new economy (recession) has gained momentum and the economic realities experienced so far has been highly worrisome. As a low income earner, you don’t need a personal finance expert to advise you on how to spend constructively and double your income stream fast, as it is now evident that there is strong need to change from your old approach - and this requires creative thinking more than ever.
The overwhelming effects of inflation are unthinkable particularly in the month of September and Oct0ber 2016, as basic food items and healthcare service become extremely expensive, reflecting the increased growth witnessed in inflation rate which rose in October 2016 to 18.33%, from 17.85% in September 2016. Analysis indicates that this pattern would continue in the next three months.
Survival in the coming months would be thus be tasking in the face of looming economic headwinds. This article is an experiential one which reflects the realities faced by many even myself.
Reality No 1 (Healthcare Service is becoming unaffordable)
In early October, I was hospitalized for 3days, during this period I was briefed by the doctor-on-duty that my case requires specialist attention. He explained that a visit by this specialist would cost me additional N30,000. I was shocked and vehemently objected this, saying it was N15,000 the last time I visited the same specialist in December 2015. According to the Doctor, the 100% price increase was as a result of a change in the hospital policy which led to a review of charges/fees. I instantly, raised another objection that my case should be treated as a follow-up-case not as a fresh case. After series of phone-calls and discussion among doctors on duty, I was eventually asked to pay N20,000.
The specialist came, examined and said '’sir your complaints and recent visits to clinics shows you have slight health challenges. Though you look good, we need to aggressively investigate further and this requires special lab-tests and minor procedure”. He thus recommended these tests (i)PSA blood test (ii)Liver & Kidney Test (iii)Urine MCS (iv)CTSCAN(with and without contrast) (v)Urodynamics. He asked the hospital to discharge me. Afterwards, a bill of N75,000 was slammed on me excluding my initial deposit of N30,000.
Reality No 2 (Lab-test is extremely expensive now)
PSA blood test: As at Dec 2015, it used to be N10,000- but it is now N15,000 as at October 2016 (50% Price Increase)
Liver & Kidney function Test: This used to be N2,500, now it is N5,000 (100% Price Increase)
Urine MCS: This used to be N2,500, now it is N4,000 (60% Increase)
CTScan: This used to be N60,000, but surprisingly it is now N50,000 (17% Cheaper)
I thank God, all my results showed positive and good health status but the symptoms still persisted which led to further investigation.
Reality No 3 - The Most shocking (Urodynamics: Minor procedure).
I called the recommended specialist hospital to find out about the price/charges. The receptionist said the Urodynamics would cost me N35,000 if I could come before the end of October. She further said prices were likely to be reviewed after then. By that time, I was already out of disposable cash, so I waited for my October salary. When I got there in November, the price had gone up to N50,000 (43% Price Increase in just 2wks)
Reality No 4 - (Drugs are becoming scarce and too expensive)
The Specialist recommended this special medicine (Alfuzosine) to be taken for two weeks- if the symptoms persisted, I may need to go in for Cystoscopy (N300,000 without drugs). Most of the pharmacy shops around Gbagada, Ikeja and Ojodu said the drug was not available. So, on special request and delivery, I got a UK brand for N10,000, the pharmacist said it used to be N3,000 or N4,000 (150% price Increase)
Reality No 5 ( Home/Private lesson is not affordable)
My daughter scored 55% in mathematics during Mid-term exams, I considered that low comparing her past records. So, I decided to recall her private maths teacher after 2months break, the woman increased her charges from N25,000 to N30,000 (20% Increase)
Going by these alarming realities, there is strong indication that mortality rate would surge soon. If prices continue to jump in this pattern for the next 3months without proactive measures in terms of sound fiscal policies to tame the overwhelming impacts of inflation on medical services, drugs and other basic essential needs.
Reality No 6- Funny but embarrassing (Unfriendly ATM policy)
The banks need to adjust the ATM policy to meet today's economic realities. The lowest denomination on ATM should be reduced to N100. The N1000 minimum policy should be suspended for now. I met a gentle man at the ATM unit, he said he was stranded, he asked if i could help transfer N100 to his account, so he could collect his last N1000 from ATM for his transport. This really sounded funny but he actually showed me his account balance on the ATM screen, it was N920.00. I honestly felt bad about the N1000 lowest denomination policy. This is one out of many but shows that something needs to be done.
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