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Christmas: Traders in Ogun lament poor patronage


ABEOKUTA – Only 48 days to the Christmas festival, some traders in Ogun markets on Tuesday complained over low patronage by residents.
Many traders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta that the turnout by customers was low compared to previous years.
Mr Jossy Uche, a grain seller at Kuto market, said the turn out to purchase food stuff for the celebration was discouraging.
“Customers are not coming to buy food stuff even when the prices of these commodities still remains stable.
“ Since I opened for business this morning, I have not sold half a bag of rice as you can see,’’ he told a correspondent of NAN at the market.
He said a 50 kg bag of rice was being sold for about N8,000 on the average depending on type while a bag of beans was being sold for N22,000.
Uche attributed the low turnout of customers to lack of money in circulation.
Miss Atinuke Alao, a pepper seller at Kuto market also lamented over poor sales, saying patronage was better in the previous week to Christmas.
“Last week, tomatoes and pepper were very expensive but people still bought. But this week , it is cheaper compared to what we sold last week.
“A basket of tomatoes, which we used to buy for between N3,500 and 3,800, is now N3,000 while red pepper remains stable at N3,000 for a basket,’’ she said.
Alao attributed the low turnout of customers to late payment of workers salaries.
Another trader, Miss shade Ogunlewe, who sells rice at Lafewa market, said the poor turn out was inexplicable as there was only a marginal increase in the prices of some items.
“I don’t think the increase was because of a hike in the prices of some goods because it was just a few items that had little increase.
She said the bag of rice being sold for N7,500 was now N7,600, recording a marginal increase of N100.
NAN also reports that the prices of children’s clothes had witnessed a hike.
Mrs Nike Idowu, a trader at the Itoku Market, attributed the increase to the activities of middle men who exploit the retailers because of the festive season.
Idowu, who said that children clothes which sold for 2,500 last month now cost N3,500, adding: ” Sale of new children clothes has never been this bad during Christmas season.
“People are not buying new clothes again as they now prefer buying “tokunboh’’ (used clothes) for themselves and their children.
“Some of my customers complained that the new clothes are too expensive; but there is nothing we can do.
“We just have to sell based on buying price for us to make our own profit,’’ she said.
Mrs Queen Odeyale, who sells vegetable oil at Omide market, however, said she had been making brisk sales this season.
Odeyale said she was impressed with the turnout of customers, noting that it might be because of the decrease in the price of vegetable oil.
She said that a keg of 25 litres vegetable oil now sells for N6,200 as against the N6,500 it was sold last month while the five-litre keg is now N1,350 as against N1,500.
A civil servant, Mrs Toyin Alade, expressed regrets that she could not purchase foodstuff for her family members due to non-payment of salary.
“I will be very happy if the state government can pay our December salary before the Christmas because it will make the season a fulfilled one for my family,” she said.(NAN)

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