Traders lament low Christmas patronage

Traders in Abakaliki expressed worries on Monday over low patronage by customers as preparations for Christmas went underway.

Clothing and food seller who spoke complained that patronage had been so low that it appeared that people were not prepared for the Yuletide.

Mr Ikenna Ofoke, a rice dealer, said the slow business was worrisome and blamed the situation on harsh economic conditions, the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protest.

He said he was more worried because there were few buyers in spite of the slash in the prices of local rice.

Ofoke said a 50kg bag of the highest grade of local rice is sold at between N20,500 and N21,000, as against N22,000 and N25,000 in November and October.
Mr Umar Tijjani, who sells goats, said business was also not encouraging at this time.

“Traders are also suffering from taxes imposed on inter-state goats haulers. From Taraba to Ebonyi, the transportation cost of each goat is N3,000 while N20,000 is charged on each cow.

“Prices of goats in the market are between N23,000 and N32,000 depending on the size,” Tijjani said.

Mrs Rose Uguru, who sells tomatoes and spices, also lamented the low patronage.

Uguru urged the federal and state governments to implement policies to tackle price disruptions in food commodities.

She said that a big basket of tomatoes is sold for between N15,000 and N20,000 as against N6,000 and N8,000 in November.

Mr Mike Okeke, who sells babies clothes also lamented the low patronage being experienced by traders and described the situation as “difficult”.

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