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Inflation rising, prices galloping, sizes shrinking – in for long haul

BY: Vicky Wireko
Inflation rising, prices galloping, sizes shrinking – in for long haul

I am yet to meet anyone who is not feeling the effects of local and sometimes global inflation.

The curious thing is that while prices are rising on virtually everything, sizes of food and assorted manufactured products are also shrinking in size.

The opening up of COVID-19 protocols meant, for some of us, those happy days when family and friends could hang out together. It was time to catch up with loved ones over a good meal and have close conversations.

Shrinking size

If, like me, you have had any such hang-outs in the last few weeks, I am sure you have noticed what I have also noticed – the shrinking size of cooked food either at eateries or at the street sellers’.

I met up with some friends at a favourite local dish restaurant a couple of weeks ago. I had not been there for over two years, so the sizeable portions of practically all the varieties one used to enjoy pre-Covid have shrunk in size.

They have even changed their serving plates and bowls to accommodate the size of the shrunk portions being served. Now you cannot eat and ask for your leftover portions to be packed for you to take home as before. Inflation and high cost of food have brought us thus far.

In Accra today, the favourite ball of kenkey which used to sell for GHC2 has shrunk to the size of a child’s fist. It has fast become pricey for a decent kenkey meal.

I love pastries; never mind its dire effects if taken in excesses. Thankfully, in today’s times, affordability even stops one from excessive indulgence.

I stopped recently at one of the city’s popular pastry shops for a variety of snacks.

To my surprise, the usual sizes of meat and chicken pies, as well as Cornish pasty have all shrunk in size with barely any filling.

If you do check-in at “Hausa koko” joints once in a while, just notice how the popular and delicious spicy porridge is now sparingly dished out and the price per scoop has also been increased. The same goes for the usual accompaniment, “koose”.

Generally, therefore, cooked foods out there for sale have not only shrunk in servings, they have become quite pricey too.

Inflation

One can safely say that Inflation has been the causative factor. Food prices these days do not stay for more than two days, as if they are in a race for a destination. A finger of plantain for GHC5 and a finger of banana for GHC1 sound outrageous, but you can bet on a different price next time you check on them. Sometimes, one wonders if sellers are just playing games with numbers.

Food apart, I discovered just this week that some product manufacturers are also busy in the game of increased prices and shrunk sizes. One has to have an eye to see the game pattern.

An acquaintance recently drew my attention to the size of a popular toilet tissue on the market. She sent her driver to a shop to get her some items including the favourite toilet tissue she has been purchasing.

To her amazement, the size of the toilet tissue had been reduced but the price had also increased. We joked over it but it is all the inflation effect the manufacturer may be using to survive.

It reminded me of what I have noticed over time with a popular multi-purpose soap. It has been reduced in size, a shadow of its own former self.

One would not be far from wrong to say that inflation has been the spoils of the COVID-19 war. The pandemic has brought the entire world down, with inflation affecting citizens very badly.

A Pew Research in the US, according to US’s CNBC, puts 70 per cent of Americans as apparently calling inflation “a very big problem”. Well, it is not a US peculiar problem.

The pinch is felt all over.

In the United Kingdom (UK), the same problem of rising inflation exists from fuel to food to houses and vehicles and citizens are on the back of their government to do something about it.

From France to Germany and all over Europe, as well as Asia, inflation is on an upward climb. It is described as unprecedented in some cases, never seen its like in their respective countries.

Unfortunately, the prediction by experts is that things will get worse before they get better. I tend to believe that if the pandemic has had this damaging effect on world economies and hence inflation, then, with the announcement of a new variant of COVID-19 said to be even more vengeful than Omicron, inflation is going to be a thorn in the flesh of nations, and Ghana is no exception.

One definitely is in for a long haul and the need to brace up for rising inflation and galloping price increases for some time to come.