The year 2020 has been one which would be remembered by many across the world as challenging following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which has left many economies crumbling.
Economic activities in Ghana virtually came to a halt when government put in place measures to contain the spread of the deadly disease after the country recorded its first case on March 12.
The closure of schools, markets, hotels, pubs, beaches, malls and other public places which allowed mass gathering of people led to the loss of jobs especially in the private sector.
It is on the back of the adverse effect of COVID-19 on the finances of the populace that the Ghana News Agency (GNA) sampled the views of Ghanaians in the Central Business District of Kumasi to ascertain the expectations of the people on the eve of Christmas.
Many of the respondents who spoke to the GNA expressed low expectations for the yuletide, citing the effect of COVID-19 on their businesses and the uncertainties surrounding the just ended general elections.
These sentiments cut across those who were in town for Christmas shopping as well as traders hoping to make good sales on the last day before the Christmas break.
Mr. Okyere Darko, a businessman, said business had been slow compelling him to lay off some of his workers with those who maintained their jobs receiving half of their salaries.
“I don’t think Christmas is going to be exciting as previous years because people don’t have the purchasing power to make the season memorable,” he stated.
Mrs. Gloria Kankam, a trader at the Kumasi Central Market, said Christmas was about merry making, so she expected people to celebrate despite the economic hardship which was not peculiar to Ghana.
Mr. Sago Dennis, a shoe maker, however, believed the disagreement among the two major political parties over the election results could mar the beauty of the Christmas celebrations.
For Ms. Elizabeth Oppong, a private school teacher, said how to provide three square meals for herself and her 10-year old daughter was a huge challenge, so making merry this festive season was a secondary matter to her.
She said they survived on her half salary which could barely take care of food let alone other items needed for Christmas.
Mr. Michael Menako, a former worker at a hotel, who was laid off as a result of COVID-19, said “I was the bread winner of my family of nine, but now that I have lost my job the last thing on my mind is Christmas”.
Dzifa Togbe, a head porter at the Kejetia Market, said she would not travel home for Christmas for the first time because of poor income in the last few months.