THE DEBT OF NATIONS

The Only Man Who Sticks Closer To You In Adversity Than A Friend Is A CREDITOR

So this high_flying  professional travels for vacation in the United States. Although she was somewhat prepared for what to expect in terms of expenses, she still got shell_shocked at the rate money is ‘vanishing’. She reports that, if you are not earning in Dollars or Pound Sterling, you can not survive there for long.

Imagine traveling with ₦500k and thinking you have enough cash for a two week vacation, staying with a relative Then you realize that what you consider to be ample money is actually nothing in those climes.

The conversation started when I asked this vacationer for the payment a paltry outstanding sum which had been due for a week.

NaijaGuy: Please remember to credit me, Madam. This is like six days overdue now .

And then, the revelation…..

Vacationer: That’s the problem. I am completely broke. I need money like a camel in a desert needs water. I’ve not worked since I traveled on this vacation, and I am shocked at the rate money vanishes here!

NaijaGuy: But this is peanuts we are talking about. This is not money in those climes!

Vacationer: It’s not funny at my side here, believe me!. Those who say there is easy money to earn here are mistaken, or are liars . You sweat for every dime you get. And people can’t help you because the economy is not cash_based. Everyone lives on credit. The higher your credit rating the better your chances of further borrowings.

Cash spending is totally discouraged.

NaijaGuy:There are a couple of online money lenders in Nigeria like Paylater ( https://is.gd/j9DSEC )now.

I was shocked when I realized they are quite many.The more you patronize and pay on time, the higher your credit rating,  and the higher the amount you are eligible to borrow.

I once borrowed  from PayLater to test it out… that’s ₦7K, to start,, with an interest charge of 1%/day. Quite good for emergencies.

The (Bank Verification Number) BVN thing is the ace here, otherwise the usual Nigerian factor could /would kick in, and defaulters would run them aground in no time!

Vacationer: Looks like we are catching up gradually. Stores like Walmart etc all have their cards. You buy with it at a discount and you get more credits. But they all remove small commissions.

At a particular Airport, I was to pay $25 for my luggage. No cash accepted. I had to get a personalized visa card at an automated machine for the amount but had to part with extra $5 for the card.

:NaijaGuy: It is certainly tough spending foreign currency and earning local currency!

Vacationer: Exactly. That’s the problem. I once tried to work and earn my own dollars (though without the knowledge of the relatives I am staying with, here). Just to know know how it feels.

I followed some Nigerians to a place where those requiring labour usually pick up workers. I did a 5-hour work and picked up $120. It was a manual work involving stacking cans into containers.

Imagine! Five hours to earn an amount that is really peanuts here!

NaijaGuy: So people who come down to Nigeria from abroad, flashing cash are mostly deceiving us, as well as themselves?

Vacationer: Mostly, yes, unless they are into some fraud or another way of stealing. Or unless they’ve worked for a period of time and want to come and do some project in Nigeria.

NaijaGuy::I understand Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea are multiple times worse than a place like Abuja in terms of how expensive everything is.

Without a solid source of income at that level, surviving there is impossible!

Vacationer:True. In the US, if you consistently work for a period of time and ‘know where you are coming from’ and you save vigorously, you can have something to show for it. 

The low value to naira truly helps.

But such people would not be lavish spender and we label them stingy.


I once wrote that The Fear Of Debt Is Worse Than Death

Would you be comfortable, in Nigeria, having almost everything you have – on credit – house, car, smart-phone, household furniture?

Or, do you believe, like me that using debt to finance liabilities (non business related things) is a clarion call for trouble and long-term misery?

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