Less than a week into this year’s Christmas festivities, traders in the capital are yet to experience bumper sales as expected annually. Traders in and around the central business district of Accra have bemoaned the slow pace at which sales of goods are progressing ahead of the festivities.
According to some traders, the cause of this low patronage is that a lot of people are yet to receive their salaries. Others argued that it is simply because of a lack of money in the system.
Some traders who deal in fabrics, shoes and boutiques said the market has been slow even though their services are normally resorted to earlier, before the celebrations, as compared to food and beverages. “We are not seeing any improvement in sales. You can see there aren’t enough people passing through our lanes. We have been here all day, and nothing is happening; this year’s events are nothing to write home about,” one said.
Traders of Christmas accessories also lamented slow sales. They are however expecting things to pick up as Christmas draws closer.
“As we speak I have not even sold up to GH¢300, but usually I would have sold close to GH¢10,000. I actually think a lot of people are doing a lot of window-shopping this year. We see a lot of people in the market, but this does not reflect in what we sell,” a trader lamented.
Meanwhile, some persons who came to buy dresses and other accessories for the festivities have also complained about the rise in price of goods and products, which makes them unable to buy what they need.
Speaking on the increasing prices, a cloth seller confirmed, saying: “The price at which we buy from China and other places is the same but the port duties have increased – affecting the price of goods. Because the duties are high, we have also increased the prices. High-Target cloth was initially GH¢65 but is now GH¢70; we are hopeful that things will improve pretty soon”.
Other traders also said last year some Christmas accessories – for instance the Santa cap – was sold for GH¢7 but is GH¢10 this year. For food items, a small sack or container of maize that was sold for GH¢35 is now GH¢45. Some vegetable sellers also said prices have been unstable in the year.
“Because producers and manufacturers know that when it gets to Christmas these are the products buyers or sellers focus on, they tend to increase the prices. As you know, if the demand is high the price is also high; so that’s it during this Christmas. Chocolate was sold at GH¢22 and is now GH¢23 – so we see demand influencing prices,” said Abena who sells at a provision shop.
For her, business during Christmas is not bad, but the focus is on a few products. “Another thing is that there’s a shortage of some products because we are in Christmas, so more people are demanding certain products and they become expensive,” she said
Neglect of COVID-19 protocols
It is observed that traffic has mounted in the market with people walking in and out and others going about their schedules; however, a lot of people neglect the COVID-19 protocols – especially wearing nose masks.
This, some buyers said, is a worry as one can literally count the number of people wearing the masks among the huge number of people in the market, which some described as risky. They however called on the appropriate authorities to take urgent action to address the menace. “The market atmosphere makes one wonder whether the country is poised to fight the COVID-19 and Omicron disease as it preaches,” Ms. Akua said.