By: Ahmad Al-Tayar
Daily expenses in Ramadan have become one of the greatest economic challenges faced by Yemeni families each year. Families are used to spending in Ramadan double the amounts they spend during other months. Moreover, although Ramadan is still several days away, more than 3 million families are already growing concerned about their upcoming daily expenditure, especially given Yemen’s sluggish economic growth.
According to economic experts, Yemeni families spend more than YR 400 billion every Ramadan, averaging YR 120.000 per family. Economics expert Ali Fadhl Taha stated that the heightened spending levels can be attributed to increased consumption of Ramadan-related goods, including meat, fruit, nuts and sweets. Ramadan habits and traditions involving holiday eating are spread down family lines, and these traditions keeps families buying a wide range of goods at high prices every year. Experts have noted that people of low income are struggling to keep up with the expenses of Ramadan. “Families in Yemen inherited harmful habits of extreme consumption of comestibles during Ramadan, which seriously increases financial burdens on Yemeni families,” added experts. Moreover, families start preparing for Ramadan during the month of Sha’aban, as they are aware that Ramadan requires a variety of goods. These traditions, transplanted from generation to generation, are difficult to eradicate.
Families usually admit to the high level of expenses during Ramadan, declaring that they can overcome it through savings and social integration. A survey taken on the Ramadan spending by family clearly shows the effects of Ramadan expenditures. “The level of spending increases by 35% during Ramadan, and 15% of families are forced to sell pieces of furniture to cover the expenses,” noted the survey. Furthermore, 46% of families depend on the bonuses they receive before Ramadan and 46% of families begin saving prior to Ramadan in order to prepare for the month.
The survey further noted that YR 60.000 is not enough to make sufficient preparations for Ramadan, especially for those families in lower income brackets, such as teachers. Teacher Fadhl Al-Shahari says he starts worrying about Ramadan very early, as he knows that there are significant expenses he will need to make for his family.
The suffering is almost limited to those who have low income, for whom Ramadan’s high prices provide the greatest burden. Mohammed Taha says that although the prices are not increasing, they are still financially disastrous to those of low income.
By: Ahmad Al-Tayar