Correspondence from Upper East Region
Operators of food joints at the C. K Tedam University of Technology and Applied Science (C.K Tedam-UTAS), formally known as the University for Development Studies (UDS), have complained that business is not booming as it used to be when students were on campus prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
They say sales have taken a nose dive so badly that they are unable to sell a quarter of what was sold when times were normal.
Other businesses such as provision shops, stationery shops and mobile money merchants which have been operating on the campus for a long time also shared similar sentiments when GhanaWeb’s Senyalah Castro visited the campus to see the impact of the coronavirus on their operations.
It was noted that many business operators particularly the food joints were either closed down or opened and struggling to stay on their feet.
On the Navrongo Township-campus road which is usually brisk with business activities sometimes running into the late hours of the night, several shops were closed. That actively busy section was dull except for people passing on bikes to the township.
At the Auntie Muni Waakye joint for instance, the place was locked up, indicating no cooking had been done there for a while. The atmosphere was uncharacteristic of that joint which was mostly filled to capacity with people queuing to buy food.
On a normal day, one would usually spend not less than 15 minutes before they could be served the food. But due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, the place is locked up, empty and getting dusty.
A security man told our reporter that Auntie Muni stopped cooking after she realized sales were not encouraging.
The situation was not different when GhanaWeb visited the Mummy and Daughters Little Chef food joint at the school’s first gate. As popular and close to the road as it is sited, the operator complained of bad sales. A look inside the dining area revealed empty seats. For the little time our reporter stayed there, only a handful of people bought the food.
Adagenura Florence, the operator had this to say, “I sell Waakye, Banku, kokontey, riceballs, kenkey and then Tuo Zaafi. When they students were around it was good for us. But now that the students have gone, our market has gone totally down. Now, we prepare very little food but still you will sit till 7 or 8pm before it will finish or not even finish. We are really suffering now”. She complained.
She revealed that when times were normal, she could make between ghc50 –Ghc100 in profit in a day from the sale of one of the several dishes she cooks.
“when they (students) were there, at least when you prepare two bowls of rice, you can get Ghc 50 or Ghc 100 for the Waakye alone without adding the sales for the Banku and other things. But these days when you even cook small it won’t get finished. So you can see that our business is really going down”. She said sadly.
At Home Bar, a popular Kenkey joint, Portia Kpangkpari, the owner’s daughter said the outbreak of the coronavirus has drastically reduced their customers. According to her, they used to sell two pots of Kenkey a day but have now cut down to one. She said sales have become bad that it is difficult to even sell half of a pot.
The business operators say if the situation continues on that tangent, they would have no option that to close down.
When our reporter visited the campus of the Navrongo Senior High School (NAVASCO), the situation was not any different as there was no sign of the traders or food vendors both at the ‘common Market’ and Gate Market. Many of the shops at the Gate Market were closed.
The C. K Tedam University of Technology and Applied Science (C.K Tedam-UTAS) like all other educational institutions in the country have made their students to go home as a measure to curb the spread of the virus. Until the coronavirus is contained in the country, schools may remain closed and that would greatly affect businesses.