HomeLocal NewsGloomy 2013 Christmas beckons

Gloomy 2013 Christmas beckons

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THE forthcoming festive season is set to be gloomy due to massive retrenchments that have left hundreds of breadwinners without income and the debilitating shortage of cash in the economy.

BY WONAI MASVINGISE

To date, almost a week into December, only a handful of shops in Harare’s central business district have put up the traditional colourful Christmas decorations as is the norm when shops would be outpacing each other in festive decorations.

The liquidity crunch has made prospects of merriment this festive season clearly doubtful. A cross–section of Zimbabweans interviewed by NewsDay in Harare yesterday said they could not see any joy this Christmas.

“There is no means to celebrate this Christmas because there is no money. People are stressed because there are no jobs and there is very little cash in circulation while prices of basic commodities are going up,” Godfrey Konje, a taxi driver, said.

“We don’t have that many people hiring taxis these days and so we are taking home between $7 and $9 per day. Around this time last year, I used to take home between $40 and $50 per day so you can see that the situation is tough for us.”

Sam Hakata, who is self-employed, said although the festive season had already started, there was next to nil evidence of the Christmas spirit because people did not have money.

“This year Christmas is going to be a non-event. The usual high activity to show us that we are actually now in December is virtually absent and you can see there are very few people around town as is usually the case this time of the year when streets would be teeming with people shopping. Nothing is bringing in cash. There is just no money so really there can’t be any Christmas this year,” he said.

Tendai Masarirambi, who is also self–employed, said for people like him whose income was not guaranteed by a payslip, a dark Christmas was beckoning this year.

“This is certainly not going to be a happy Christmas. The country’s economic situation is killing our progress as self-employed people,” he said.

Vast Bundo, an attendant in a clothing shop, said business was very slow compared to previous years when sales peaked in the run–up to the festive season.

“We cannot afford to celebrate this Christmas because we have no money. Right now we are just going to work to sit. No one is buying clothes and yet you would expect this to be our peak season. If things continue this way, then 2014 is going to be a very difficult year. People would rather keep the little that they have and save for their children’s school fees in January,” Bundo said.

Linnet Khumalo, a vendor, said she was not going to be able to celebrate this Christmas because she had no idea where she would get the money to do so, let alone money to pay school fees for her children next year.

“This Christmas comes at a tough time when people cannot afford to celebrate. Money is not circulating and it looks like 2014 will be even worse so people would rather not waste money celebrating Christmas. I would rather save money for my children’s school fees next year,” she said.

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