Pass the butter!

No. This is not a beauty post, neither is it one on music. This post is about the Ghanaian economy. I’m not blogging as an expert of any kind, despite a degree in Business Economics, I am looking at this purely from a lay woman point of view. And from that point of view I have to say, we just can’t enjoy our butter anymore! … and I will explain.

Two weeks ago my mother in law exclaimed, “Can you believe this? Butter now costs 12 cedis! Not so long ago it was 6 cedis! I won’t have butter for breakfast anymore.” Knowing how she LOVES her breakfast with all the condiments, I know what resolve it must take for her to eliminate the beloved butter from her breakfast table. I took her comment in with a grain of salt and a little pepper.

Last week I took a trip to the supermarket myself only to find that the cost of butter had gone up again to 13 cedis and a few pesewas.  I decided to buy a packet for my mother-in-law.  And since we frequently have breakfast together, I thought it will be nice to still have some butter on the table. As usual she was her bubbly self and exclaimed, “oh you bought butter! As for me, no more butter for me.” I insisted, put the butter on a dish, and proceeded to help her set the table and make the toast. As we enjoyed our food and chit chatted at the breakfast table, I buttered my toast and passed her the butter. She refused. “I’ll keep it for you in the fridge”, she said, “so that whenever you come over for breakfast you can have some. As for me, I’m finished with butter.” For the next minute it was “oh please have a little butter”, and the answer would be “oh no, you have it!”.

My mother-in-law is on a pension, and uncontrollable inflation in recent months has led to scenarios like this. It makes me wonder what is going on in the homes of middle class Ghanaians. Prices are rising steadily, the exchange rates are going haywire, speculation is making matters worse, and don’t let me get to the issue of gas and fuel prices.

It is very easy to blame the government for all our problems. But have we forgotten that only WE the collective, can make positive change happen? We rely too much on imports and are too quick to react without being adequately informed. Tell me. If you grow vegetables in your home and sell them out of a shed in your front yard,  how does the exchange rate or increase in oil and gas price affect your selling price? These things may affect you only marginally, yet you will find such a person telling you, “I had to increase my prices because the cost of fuel has gone up!”. This is purely speculative behaviour and can lead to inflation snowballing out of control. We need to be better informed and small business owners need to get a clue. We need to create and innovate, export and sell quality made-in-Ghana products. Export more, import less. These are some of the ways we can live more comfortably. Like the adage aays, “you cant love until you love yourself.” Appreciate what Ghana has to offer and make yourself part of her development.  Let us stop focusing on destructive things and re-construct  our country by climbing the ladder of innovation.

Yes let us occupy. But occupy yourself first, and occupy responsibly. As for me, I’d like to see some butter occupying my mother-in-law’s breakfast table.

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