Heavy traffic slows business; field day for ‘Okada’ operators
The national capital, Accra, has woken up from its election slumber to vibrant business activities, leading to massive human and vehicular traffic.
With a few days to Christmas, the story is simple — all roads lead to the central business district (CBD) of Accra, with traffic virtually grinding to a halt.
Routes such as Odorkor-Kaneshie-Accra, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange-Accra, Adenta-Madina-37-Accra, Nungua-Teshie-La-Accra and others leading to Accra were caught up in a gridlock.
Recalcitrant commercial drivers, in their attempt to use the shoulders of the roads to beat the traffic, found themselves in the grip of the vigilant police who had been deployed to maintain law and order.
A journey of 20 minutes on a fine day in Accra took an hour-and-a-half or even two.
Impatient passengers who could not endure the heavy traffic to the business centre walked, thereby leaving some commercial vehicles empty in traffic.
The situation created a conducive environment for hawkers to ply their trade with glee, running from one vehicle to another.
While commercial vehicle drivers were counting their losses because of the traffic and private drivers grumbled over the burning of fuel in traffic, commercial motorbike operators, popularly called ‘Okada’, enjoyed a field day.
Many commuters in the capital resorted to the use of Okadas, which are not only cheaper but also faster, as they meander through the traffic, to the annoyance of commercial vehicle drivers.
Meanwhile, business was picking up when the Daily Graphic visited the CBD of Accra yesterday.
Many people were massing up there to buy food items, clothing, cosmetics and footwear in readiness for the Christmas festivities.
Kayayei also took advantage of the season to earn income for themselves.
The prices of items had been reduced marginally.
In separate interviews, some traders said they had reduced the prices of their goods to clear the old stock, while others said they reduced their prices in solidarity with the President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
For instance, ladies weave-on which was formerly sold at GH¢30 and above was being sold at GH¢5, a situation which attracted more women to patronise that item.
Babies’ clothes that had already been sewn with polished cotton were sold at GH¢25, thereby making them affordable for parents who wanted to grab something new for their children.
Shoes that were known to be expensive in the market had been reduced to GH¢10 for ladies and GH¢20 for men.
Second-hand clothes were not left out, as those who could not afford what was sold in the stores resorted to what was popularly called “bend down boutique”, where some items were sold for as low as GH¢1.
A trader in already-made clothes, Mr Patrick Mensah, said he had reduced the prices of his clothes not only to clear the old goods but also to make good sales.
High exchange rate
For her part, Ms Faustina Mensah, a trader in African print, said due to the high exchange rate, business had not been favourable, as some buyers could not afford to buy some of the prints.
A shoes trader, who gave his name only as Baba, said patronage of his items had been low, as many people complained of lack of money in the system.
“Since morning, I have not been able to sell up to five pairs of shoes,’’ he said.