Stationery dealers in Accra are experiencing a rise in demand for their wares following the reopening of schools.
Schools reopened Monday after a 10-month closure ordered by the President as one of the measures to curb the spread of COVID 19.
A visit to the Accra Central Business District by the Ghana News Agency to various stationery shops revealed that business was gradually picking up, though at a slow pace.
Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, a textbooks seller, said his business was gradually picking up as schools had finally reopened and resumed academic work.
He said he was expecting buyers to throng his shop but his expectations had not been totally met but remained hopeful of brighter days ahead.
“The reopening of schools has brought more buyers to my shop than before. I had a very high expectation due to the reopening that there would be an immense trooping in by buyers but that is not the case. People are buying from me but not at a scale of what I expected,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said the closure of schools had a toll on his finances and business, attributing his discomfort to the pandemic.
“The closure of schools really affected my business and finances. For so many months, I had no money on me and I was struggling to feed. However, schools have now reopened and business is gradually picking up so we are all hoping for the best.”
He indicated that prior to the reopening of schools, only few parents who had teachers tutoring their children at home purchased books, saying, “even in those cases, it was once in a while.”
He said parents normally purchased textbooks and past questions with answers.
“Some past questions and answers are sold at GHS 40 and others at GH¢35. The price range of the textbooks are GH¢20, GH¢22, GH¢25, GH¢28, GH¢32 GH¢38. These varied prices are dependent on the level of education, class, quality of print and place of origin.”
Madam Beatrice Naa Kaaley Ankrah, a stationary dealer, told the Ghana News Agency that people were buying the books and other stationery needed for school and academic work which had led to the gradual rise of business.
She said when the directive of closure of schools was issued, she stopped selling stationery and started a cosmetics business, because, she was not making any profit from the stationery business.
“I stopped dealing in stationary when the President announced the closure of schools and commenced a cosmetics business, because, I was not making any money from the previous business. Now, I am into both stationery and cosmetics businesses which is raking in double earnings,” she said.
Madam Ankrah said single notebooks were sold for GH¢5, a single exercise book was sold GH¢1.20p, mathematical set was sold for GH¢5 and a single pen was sold for GH¢1.
“Amongst all the products, the exercise books and pens are most patronized. This is because every student writes,” she indicated.
Mrs. Joyce Gabah, a parent who came shopping at the Top man bookshop, said she came in to buy stationery, sanitizers and nose masks for her children to be well prepared and protected.
She bemoaned the reopening of schools at a short notice. “I thought the President should have given us three to four weeks to prepare towards the reopening of schools. The notice was too short and this has made most parents to struggle financially.”
She urged all parents to prepare adequately for their kids “because the safety of the kids lies in their hands.”
Mrs. Gabah said the reopening of schools was not a good idea because the COVID-19 active cases kept increasing at an alarming rate.
However, an Education Officer who pleaded anonymity said the reopening of schools was a good decision because the virus had come to stay and that the health and safety protocols put in place had become the new normal.
She said a long break in academic progression would impede the intellectual development of Ghanaian children hence the need for them to go back to school under the circumstances.