Some traders in three major markets in Accra have expressed diverse opinions over possible impacts from the post-elections dispute on trading activities, as some complain of low sales whereas others say business is good.
In a market survey carried out by the B&FT to find out traders’ thoughts on how activities may be impacted by the seeming political impasse after the election, of which the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is disputing its outcome, some of the traders feel the situation may negatively affect sales and revenue going into the yuletide while others think otherwise.
A grocery and confectionary trader in the central business district of Accra, Nii Amarh, said sales have not been encouraging as expected, adding, he feels consumers are being cautious in spending in order to have enough on them should any unexpected event occur.
“Before and after the elections, I am not seeing sales jump up as I expected. Things are not bad, but I was hoping for some ‘boom’. It is early days yet, but I can sense that if a solution is not found early it might affect sales. People will want to save their money and not do so much extra spending. But I am hopeful that things will subdue and trading will pick up.”
A vegetable trader in the same market, Cynthia Amoah, on the other hand said she does not expect any negative impact on business activities, especially for those selling food stuffs as life does not depend on election outcomes.
“I don’t think sales will be affected because of the uncertainty. Using my goods as a benchmark, things are moving on smoothly. Even though last year’s sales were better than those of this year, Christmas is yet to fully come but you can tell that the market is busy. The market is close to a gridlock; people don’t care which way the election goes, life goes on,” she said.
The story was however one-sided at the Nima Market, as the traders spoken to lamented poor patronage – citing the fact that most residents of the area are dejected since it is predominantly NDC.
“A lot of people are not at ease here in Nima, and that is affecting sales. Even though Christmas is for Christians, over the years we have come to experience that the Muslim community take advantage of it for some merrymaking. So, we are doubtful of any sales boom. This area is predominantly NDC and many people know that; so maybe that is the reason for the slow sales,” said Hajia Bintu, a seller of cloth/textiles.
“If the NDC wants to go to court, they should go and let’s all get finality to the case. Here at the market we debate the outcome of the election. Some of us feel that because of our location many people are not happy, so they are not spending,” Fostina Sule, a trader in plastic materials, also said.
For traders at the Medina Market, the general trading environment looked unaffected by whatever is going on, as many are optimistic of good sales ahead of the Christmas break.
“I have been recording higher sales all day. Just this morning I have sold 20 bags of pepper; and that’s high, because I usually sell 10-15 bags maximum a day but it has jumped to 20. It means demand has gone up. And I am not the only one reporting this; my colleagues have experienced the same,” said Awonye Maggie, a pepper seller.
Another trader who sells groundnut paste, Felicia Ntim said: “I have increased my stock over the past few days: sales are booming. I don’t think at the Madina Market you will find someone who deals in fast-moving consumer goods telling you he or she is afraid the election uncertainty will affect sales. Even those selling clothes and footwear are cashing in; how much more those of us selling edibles? For us, things are normal”.
Since the EC chair Jean Mensa declared the incumbent candidate President Akufo-Addo winner of the 2020 presidential election, the opposition NDC has rejected the outcome of the polls, saying they have initiated a forensic audit of all the electoral documents and will take a decision to reverse what it claims is a wrong verdict.