One would have thought that corporate workers doing full-time jobs would opt to use their weekends and other free time to take some rest. But that is far from the present situation, as workers are now adding more work to maintain their standard of living.
Data from Ghana Statistical Services show that consumer inflation has further increased to 37.2 percent in September 2022 – inching ever-closer to the 40 percent mark last seen in the early 2000s. The annual inflation rate accelerated for the 16th straight month by 4.7 percentage points from 33.9 percent in August, the highest reading since June of 2001 when inflation recorded 36.8 percent. This makes it the highest rate recorded in 243 months, equivalent to 21 years, three months.
The increase in price pressures continue to be fuelled by elevated petroleum and transport costs, as well as higher food costs and a weakening local currency.
The current economic hardships, characterised by hikes in price of almost every commodity on the market, has eroded the value of consumers’ income; thereby creating uncertainty about the future. This has compelled some of workers to engage in various small businesses to beef-up their income to survive.
Some who spoke to the B&FT said the move has become necessary, as their regular income is no longer able to cater for all their needs.
A journalist for an Accra-based online news platform, Beyonce Diamond Kpogli, says the only way she is surviving is by taking on additional side-jobs – the preparation and sale of chilli-sauce, popularly known as shito.
“Without my side-business, I don’t know what would have happened to me now. I prepare chilli-sauce (shito) and sell. I also work with a borehole drilling company as a social media manager.
“I engage in other businesses due to the current standard of living in the country. Things are really expensive; and with what I earn from corporate work, I cannot survive on it alone,” Ms. Kpogli said.
Rahmat Sulaiman, a public servant, works full-time and also runs a mobile money business as a merchant – and also sells fragrances and veils on the side to support her salary.
According to her, it is due to hardship and the unstable economic conditions that she has had to stress to work so much.
“Times are very hard, and I am unable to survive on my salary. When the salary comes in at the end of the month, it can get finished in about week because of how prices of commodities have shot up and keep increasing each day. If I wasn’t doing all these businesses, I don’t know how I would survive.”
She also lamented that even though there are constant price hikes in commodities, salaries are not being raised – a situation she said is worrying.
Asked how she manages to combine all these duties, Rahmat said she mostly does it remotely. For instance, with the mobile money, she facilitates transactions for her colleagues and operates at home, too, when she closes from work and during weekends. The fragrances and veils, she said, are done online based on orders.
Inna Hajar Osman’s story is no different. She is currently a process clerk at the Judicial Service of Ghana, but also planning on starting a small online business aside from her job. Before she got her job at the Judicial Service she was running a small food business; however, she was sent to a different region, which made her quit the food business.
According to her, her current salary is not enough; and so adding a business will enable her to cater for her needs and also enhance her savings.
She said: “My monthly salary is not dependable; it vanishes into thin air after I receive it. So if I should add any side-business, it will help sustain me before my salary comes in; and I will even be able to save”.