Business News of Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Owners of small businesses at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra are down in the dumps over low patronage of their products after the June 3rd floods.
Commuters have been avoiding the usually crowded crossing point and its brisk business area; or if they have to, they do so hurriedly since the deadly floods and fire incident.
Traders who spoke to the B&FT said sales have been at their slowest since they started plying their trade there, citing fear among the commuting public as the reason.
Sandra Lartey, a trader at the Odawna Market who sells cosmetic products, told the B&FT that people fear another disaster might happen — especially since the area experienced another flooding, albeit on a lesser scale, on June 14.
“People fear they will die when they come to this market. So when people close from work, they pass by hurriedly without stopping to buy anything because they fear it will rain again, or fire may just strike from somewhere in the market and burn them,” she said.
“Before the incident, we could even close after 7pm and people were still around to buy. But now we close the market at 5pm because you will not get buyers for your products,” she said.
Doris Ankomah, a mother of two, also complained of the same situation and said business has been distressing for her since the incident.
“We come here and sit for the whole day, and sometimes no one comes to even ask of the price of our products. They all pass by without looking at what we are selling. It is so disturbing that sometimes to get money for transport back home is a problem. Ever since the incident occurred I have not sold goods worth up to GH¢100. Before then I could sell not less than GH¢80 a day.
The traders also complained of neglect from government officials, whose focus has remained on only those who lost their lives through the accident.
Cecilia Yawson, a trader in mother-care products, wondered why they have not been visited and consoled by any government officials even though they also suffered losses.
“Even though we sympathise with those who lost their lives, we are saddened by the neglect from government too. No government official has been here. Last time, the Mayor and the President came around to look at the big Odawna drain — but they did not pass by to see what has happened to us here. We now see we are not that important, so next year we won’t vote,” she said.
“I sometimes come here and I sell goods worth only GH¢5 for the whole day. That does not even take care of my transport, let alone feed me and my family. The patronage was good after the Easter celebration, but the floods have brought us back to square one,” she added.
Another trader who sells diapers, wrappers and disposable bowls, Benedicta Nyarko Minta, also expressed disappointment in government for its failure to offer them support.
“Personally I have not sold anything at all since the incident. I continue coming here with the hope of getting something little to take home, but it has been a different story for me.”
The traders appealed to members of the public to overcome the fear and come to the area to do business.
The June 3rd Accra floods were made worse by an inferno that erupted from a fuel station at Circle, leading to the loss of over 150 lives and injuries as well as the destruction of numerous properties.