Despite fasting for 30 days, people in some parts of Ghana are celebrating this year’s Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, on a low-key note over the tough economic challenges the country is currently going through.
According to some citizens, they are not able to afford the usual products, including new clothes, live fowl, goats, sheep, rice, and other associated food products that they need to make their celebration a joyous one.
A visit by Xinhua to the homes of some faithfuls of Islam at Zongo-Laka, a Muslim community in Ashaiman, near the country’s eastern port city of Tema, indicates that the usual ecstasy, pomp, and pageantry that characterize the celebration are relatively low-key.
Ahmed Nasamu, 58, a civil servant and father of four, observed that times are hard for his family as he was not able to provide money for shopping ahead of the Eid al-Fitr celebration.
“In fact, my family is keeping this year’s celebration on a low profile because I simply don’t have the money to buy the items we need for the celebration due to the increasing cost of a bag of rice, fowl, and everything else at the market,” said Nasamu.
According to him, prices of goods and services in the market have more than doubled compared to last year.
Hajia Meimunatu Adams, whose family in past celebrations killed cows and shared them among his neighbors, said the situation has changed this time around and that they were only able to afford a goat due to the high price of products in the country.
“We are not able to afford the usual items we used to buy for the celebration. This year, my family was able to buy a goat, and that is what we are going to share with a few friends and relatives around us. We wore the same clothes we had last year for the Eid prayers,” Hajia Meimunatu told Xinhua.
She appealed to the government to put in place the necessary interventions to improve the current economic situation.
At the central market in Ashaiman, traders are also complaining about low sales, as according to them, patronage is relatively lower than last year.
“The customers are coming in their numbers to ask for prices, only to turn away after hearing them. They wish to buy but cannot simply afford it. We, the traders, cannot reduce the prices because we will run at a loss if we do that,” said Abena Atta Aidoo, a vendor in the market.
“I sold over 5,000 broilers last year on the day of the celebration. Today, it’s past 3 p.m. and I’m yet to sell 500 birds,” she added.
Ghana’s economy is currently going through difficulties with high inflation, prompting the government to seek a 3 billion U.S. dollar bailout from the International Monetary Fund to manage the situation.