By Kadiri Abdulrahman
The harsh economic situation in Nigeria, which has been exacerbated by the removal of petrol subsidy and high dollar exchange rates has become a major challenge for recreation businesses.
A visit by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to some recreation spots within Abuja showed low patronage, as most of the spots recorded very scanty crowds.
The popular “Yellow Page” spot in Kubwa, which houses several shops and football viewing centres, is usually a beehive of activities, especially during the weekends.
There, assorted roasted fish, various alcoholic and non- alcholic drinks, and other varieties of consumables are usually ordered by scores of fun seekers
But the place recorded very low patronage on Saturday evening.
The same experience played out in other notable fun spots in Kubwa, like the Glass Top Lounge in Phase 4, Native Spot on Gado Nasko Road, and Kerry Para Lounge on Sultan Dasuki Road.
The situation was not different in Lugbe, Garki, Nyanyan, Kati, Gwagwalada, and Mararaba and other parts of Abuja.
A fun seeker, simply identified as Mark, said that the harsh economy makes very little allowance for recreation.
According to him, roasted catfish, which used to be sold for N2,000 is now sold for between N3,500 and N5,000.
“In some highbrow areas, catfish goes for between N7,000 and N15,000.
“Hero beer that used sells for N400 is now between N600 and N700. Heineken beer has increased from N600 to about N1,000, same with big stout.
“Now, most people have reduced their consumption rate of those items. Others simply remain indoors as there is no extra money to spend on leisure.
“Even hookup business is suffering as most of those girls will hangout for hours without any patronage, even when many of them have been forced to reduce their prices, ” he said.
According to Patrick Abu, the Manager of Glass Top lounge, the lounge is only struggling to remain in business as patronage has dropped drastically.
He urged the Federal Government to take steps to improve the economy so that small and medium-sized businesses could qthrive.
“The running cost is high and customers are few. We are just struggling to maintain our standard and remain in business.
“The dollar rate is affecting everything, and then, the increase in the pump price of petrol is another major challenge.
“The government should do something urgently to improve the living standards of Nigerians so that our businesses can thrive, ” he said.
Tony Okoro, the Manager of Kerry Para lounge, said that harsh economic situation was not limited to recreation business.
“The economy is bad, and it is affecting every business. But we are most affected.
“Just look around. it is about 6.p.m but you can see very few people here. Usually, by now, the place would have been filled up.
“A carton of heineken that we used to buy at N4,000 is now N6,000. Everything has gone up, and the customers are no longer coming.
“Government should do something urgently to save our business, ” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams