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Traders decry low patronage as schools resume today




As schools resume for new academic session today, traders in Lagos are lamenting low patronage of schooling items by parents, according to reports.

Dealers in books, shoes, bags, uniforms and other items are complaining that buyers are not coming as expected. They revealed in separate interviews that the patronage was not impressive compared to previous times when schools resume for new session.

Mrs. Chinonso Shina, who runs Shina Bookshop at Moshalasi, Alagbado, said the patronage was not as impressive as before. She attributed the lull to the country’s economic recession, but added that many of the textbooks on demands were not available.

“The publishers are complaining about high cost of material and papers, prompting them to reduce the quantity published. Some are not even publishing at all and as such, some of the books requested for are not available,” she said.

Miss Benedicta Osuagwu, a schoolbag dealer, also complained about poor sales. According to her, even when children still have good school bags, parents are in the habit of buying new ones for the new session.

“That is not the same now, it is as if they are now cutting cost. I approached my customers to ask if I should bring some bags for their children, many of them said the old ones were still in good condition.”

A trader in Odumota‎ market at Dopemu, Lagos, Mrs. Titilope Gold, said traders were not responsible for the hike in price of school items. “We sell according to how we buy.”

According to her, things are very expensive from the manufacturers as they all complain about the high exchange rate. “Even we, the sellers, are not happy with the hike in prices of virtually all items in the market, just as the buyers are complaining,” Gold said.

A parent, Mr. Adbulrahman Onikoyi, said his plight was about the increase in tuition fees by schools. Onikoyi explained that the schools were giving excuses about the current inflation in the country as the reason for the increase.

“I thought of changing my children’s school to cheaper ones, but by my investigation, they too have increased their fees. If I have to register them in a new school, I will even spend more‎ on registration, uniforms and other things.

“I think the government should come to our rescue and regulate fees being charged by these private schools,” he said.

A mother, Mrs. Florence Ajayi, told reporters that she only managed to buy some core textbooks for her children and forego other school items because “the prices were outrageous.” Ajayi said items like school bags, sandals, socks, lunch bag ‎and boxes were among those things she could not afford now.

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