Business News of Saturday, 28 January 2017
January is a “tough’’ and long month. It comes with all kinds of difficulties and demands, school fees for children and wards, as well as their provisions for school.
It is also a stressful month because coming on the heels of Christmas, most people might have spent their money on parties, clothing for themselves and their children, gifts for families and friends; and, therefore, enter the new year with very little to spend, making January an extraordinarily long month.
Many, therefore, expect their first pay check of the year early, but it is always long in coming even for civil servants who are normally paid by the third week of the month.
This year, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department indicated that payment schedule for January this year would be on the 27th day.
Quite odd! So the refrain on the streets is that ‘’when is the next pay day? We are broke. How are we going to pay school fees? How do we keep the home? January is wicked? Our management should pay us early. We are tired of January.’’
And for the traders, they say sales are poor as people were not buying anything. ‘’When will workers be paid so they can buy our things?, they asked?
The Daily Graphic spoke to some workers who gave various accounts of how they had managed to endure the month of January after they had spent almost all their December salaries on the Christmas festivities.
Whereas some of the workers lamented how bad it was for them to endure the month, others said they had learnt from their previous bad choices and that they were least bothered by the plight of some workers because they put in adequate plans to cushion themselves for the hard times in January.
Other workers, especially those in the public sector, called on the government to come up with a system where they could be paid half of their salaries by the middle of January.
That, they said, would help to reduce the pressure they encountered after spending their salaries on the Christmas and New Year festivities.
A worker with Samsung Ghana, Mr Eric Ofosu, said part of the pressure could easily be taken away if companies would come out with a system where salaries for January would be split into two.
“This is the best way to help many parents who may need urgent money to support their children when school resumes. I have two children and getting money for them when school reopens becomes a major challenge.”
Mr Ofosu said he was ready to take up the matter with his employers because “most of my colleagues share the same view with me.”
Recounting how difficult the month of January had been to him, a worker at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), who wanted to remain anonymous, said “l had almost nothing left on me after spending my salary on clothes and food, my children, wife, relatives and friends. l have to look for other alternative sources of income to look after my family.
“It’s never a joke. The pressure to solve problems in January is so huge. Something ought to be done about it,” he said.
He suggested to the corporate world to come with ways to help their employees, adding that “something like cost of living allowance or urgent loans can be arranged for those interested.”
Not easy at all
A 40-year-old worker at the T and J Bending, dealers in home appliances at Adabraka, Mrs Eunice Tawiah, said despite all his efforts to get out from financial struggles at the beginning of every year, “January has never been fair to her and her two children”.
“I have tried all I could, but I cannot overcome my January woes. I have two children, and every January I find it difficult to take care of them. I think something should be done about the month of January,” she narrated.
A cashier at Melcom Ghana, who gave his name only as Papa Twum, said he always took loans from his friends to survive the month of January.
“Unfortunately for me, this January, all my friends told me they were having difficult times and that they also needed loans. Can you imagine?,” he asked.
We planned for it
Another worker at the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Charles Arhin, said there was no financial pressure on him because he did not spend so much in December, 2016. Rather, he said he planned well for January.
“We all know the challenges one could face in January. So for me, I tried not to allow the pressure to spend on Christmas or New Year to affect my pocket. I knew that after the festivities there would be pressure everywhere,” he said.
Another worker at the Glico Insurance, Ms Rebecca Djanpo, said she made sure that 10 per cent of her salary went into the celebration and saved the remaining for the month of January.
“I have learnt from my past mistakes. I used to spend so much to chill during festivities, but now I have changed because I encountered a lot of needless pressure,” she said.
A National Service Person, Mr Godfred Doe Mawulo, at the Audit Service said he was not encountering hardship because of the way he spent his money.
“I did not experience hardship in January due to the savings I made, ” he said.
According to him, he did not enjoy borrowing money from relatives and friends because “ it feels uncomfortable.”
An IT worker at the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Mr Musah Osman, said he had a lot of difficulties dealing with January because “I spent all my salary before December ended.”
“I had to go the extra mile by applying for a loan to enable me to pay my children’s school fees and settle other domestic bills.”
A comedian, Jacinta Ocansey, also lamented how hard it had been for her to endure January.
“January, I use God beg you, end. I use December beg you end, end! Finish! What happened,” she exclaimed.
Ms Ocansey said although she was fully aware that January was going to be tough, she never anticipated it was going to be that unbearable.