Home Business Abakaliki traders decry low patronge ahead of Yuletide

Abakaliki traders decry low patronge ahead of Yuletide


ABAKALIKI – Some traders at the Abakpa Main Market, Abakaliki, have decried the high cost of foodstuff in the market, saying it had reduced the level of patronage they were getting ahead of Yuletide.
The traders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday that there was the need for the authorities to urgently address the rising cost of foodstuff.
One of the foodstuff sellers, Mrs Ugonna Eze, told NAN that one bag of locally processed rice now went for between N4,500 and N5,000 depending on the quality.
She said this was contrary to between N3,500 and N4,500 which it sold for earlier in the year.
Eze said prices of wheat and beans had also increased marginally and regretted that the situation had affected her daily sales.
“With barely 2 weeks before Christmas and New Year celebrations, we are yet to witness high turnover in our business. The situation was not like as at this time in 2013.
“There are very few buyers and business is not moving as we expected. Buyers complain that they don’t have money.
“Again due to insecurity in the country, especially in the north, it has become more expensive to bring food items from that part of the country to Abakiliki.
“This high cost of transporting the food items are transferred to the buyers and this is negatively affecting our turnover,” Eze said.
She called on government to tackle the security challenges as part of the measures to force down the cost of foodstuff.
Mr James Onwe, who sells beans in the market, blamed the high cost of foodstuff on over-dependence on oil.
He said the agriculture sector had remained underdeveloped because the Federal Government did not consider it a major revenue earner.
He said with more funds made available for farmers, they would take to mechanised farming as positive implications for the cost of foodstuff.
Onwe also said that concerted efforts should be made to address the rate of inflation in the country, pointing out that it had become obvious that “so much money is pursuing few goods in the market”.
He said a custard container of “iron” beans which sold at N950 in 2013 and in the middle of 2014, had gone to between N1,100 and N1,150 according to grade.
He said similar increases were also witnessed in other food items such as garri.
“Today our economy is in a bad state because for long we have neglected other sectors of the economy and placed emphasis on oil.
“Now on daily basis we witness the escalation in the prices of basic goods and services and individuals purchasing power are declining every day.
“The Federal Government should rise and take urgent actions to put the economy in good shape,” he said.
Mr Jude Ogbefi, who sells textile materials, decried that he was still recording low sales.
He said the devaluation of the naira and the high exchange rate of naira against foreign currencies had affected negatively the cost of doing business.
“The situation is a wake up call to the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is a call to them to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment through job creation,’’ he said. (NAN)

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