Traders decry low patronage as Christmas draws near
It’s two weeks to Christmas and the preparations for year-end activities are in top gear, save for the shopping spree that comes with the season. As the Yuletide draws near, some traders and buyers in Lagos markets have lamented the low sales and abnormal hike in the prices of goods and services respectively.
Some of the traders who spoke with The Guardian, expressed their displeasure with the development, blaming the situation on the border closure. A lady known simply as Miss Favour in Lawanson Market complained that the government’s timing was very bad, which accounted for the equally low turnout for the annual trade fair some weeks back. She added that the border closure mainly favours farmers.
She said: “Why would the government close the border up till this Christmas period, when we are expecting high sales of our products. We were hoping that by the first week in December, things will improve and sales would go up for the Christmas shopping spree but it is not so and we are already in the second week of the month.”
Another trader, Miss Rachel Ngozi, said: “The high cost of things is making our customers not to buy our goods and this lead us sometimes to compromise on the products with counterfeit ones”.
Mrs. Onyegakwe popularly known as Gakwe said the government does not have the interest of the average citizens at heart. In her words, “prior to the border closure, a bag of rice cost about N10,000 to N15,000 but today, a bag of Nigerian rice cost about N25,000. Are they also bringing the Nigerian rice from Benin Republic for it to have cost so much, I don’t know. Presently, with the hardship in the country, an average man cannot afford to buy a derica of rice for N500. When will he now have the money to buy clothes or other things?”
Similarly, Mr. Uche Okeke, the manager of E-mart supermarket, Isolo, said: “Christmas is around the corner and when we talk about Christmas it is not only a period of celebration but also of appreciation. When people share gifts and hampers to friends and families. The Nigerian economy for some time has been in an ugly shape, but that should not stop people from buying their necessary needs, though they may reduce their spending.”
Comparing the previous years to now in terms of patronage, he said: “people have not started responding but we cannot conclude now until we have reached more than half of the month then we can now analyze on the difference between this year and the previous ones.”
At one of the supermarket stalls in Ago Palace Way, Okota, the sales manager confessed few people have been coming to buy hampers since they have started displaying it for sales weeks ago. She added that this is inspite of the fact that they have made available different range of prices to suit consumers pocket and affordability. Yet, customers are still complaining about the price of goods.