With barely three weeks to Christmas, activities in many market centers in Accra have been slow compared to previous seasons.
A visit by Business Finder to the Central Business District of Accra, Kaneshie and Madina markets revealed that traders were not making good sales from their businesses even as the Christmas festivities beckon.
In all the markets visited by this reporter, traders lamented that though the markets were busy, many people were doing ‘window shopping.’
Some traders spoken to admitted that the current economic challenge which has affected the living conditions of most people was the major reason why they were not making good sales.
Items such as electrical appliances and their accessories were the hardest hit.
Auntie Araba Mensah who deals in ladies shoes and slippers at Okaishie told this paper that business has been slow.
‘Last year and this year, things have not been all that good…..I’m hoping that God will help me so I can make some money for Christmas.
Naa Atswei Allotey who also sells plates and cups at Opera Square in Accra was also not happy at all over the low sales. She was however hopeful that sales will improve with time.
Michael Dwamena at the Kaneshie Market who deals in men’s shoes, shirts and trousers said ‘sales have not been good. I think that people are broke and the assertion that there is no money is also a problem.”
At the Madina market the situation was virtually the same as traders were complaining that they were not cashing in on the yuletide.
While Hajia Zenabu who sells cosmetics said she had not even sold 10 percent of her target for the yuletide, Stephen Ocansey who deals in carpets and other items was not so sure whether this Christmas will be good for him.
Some traders whose businesses depend hugely on electricity such as cold store were also unhappy because they had to pay more for fuel to keep their businesses running.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) says the slowdown in the Ghanaian economy has impacted negatively on its members and is expected to continue till the rest of the year.
Its President, George Ofori, told Business Finder that the poor economic fundamentals such as exchange rate, high inflation and interest rates coupled with the power outage or ‘dumsor’ is killing Ghanaian businesses and must be laid squarely on the doorstep of government.
“We will not record brisk business this Christmas like some other years. Imports compared with previous years have been going down and the picture doesn’t look good.”
“We are also not exporting as many manufacturers cannot cope with the cost of production.”
According to him, the high lending rates, lack of access to credit and the high taxes levied on businesses have also worsened the plight of local businesses.
He was unhappy about the recent increase in the policy rate to 26 percent, saying the government has failed to address the weaknesses in the Ghanaian economy.
He expressed concern about some foreigners particularly Asians who have taken over the retail market, blaming government for looking on unconcerned.