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Business slow for shop owners during Easter holidays

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The atmosphere at the Mallam Atta Market in Accra said it all— business activities were slow.

When ghanabusinessnews.com visited a cross-section of shop owners at the market on Easter Monday, the general sentiment was that goods are not selling this past few months and especially this Easter period.

Bernice, a student of Top Accountancy who comes to help her parents at the shop on holidays and weekends, says for the past six months they have recorded a significant decline in sales. Her mother confirms this and attributes the low sales to increase in the price of goods.

She says two years ago, a bag of Americana rice which was selling at GH¢65 now sells at GH¢69. “The difference is small but it has made people very conscious about how they spend”, she explained.

A dealer in children’s clothes, who says she has been selling imported clothes from China and other parts of the world for more than ten years, complained bitterly that normally Christmas and Easter are her best times to make a few profits but she could not say the same for last Christmas and this Easter. She acknowledged the fact that the prices of her goods have gone up but says it is necessary for her to increase the price of her goods if she must make any profit at all. She says the duty she pays on her goods has gone up and it costs more to transport the goods from the port to her shop, so if she must stay in the business, she must adjust her prices.

Normally, on less busy days at the market, shop owners are eager to speak to journalists about how the market is doing, but the same could not be said about today. They were less friendly and less co-operative—sign of a major anomaly.

Every shop owner at the Mallam Atta market was not happy about their sales. Most of them blamed government for this. Auntie Esther explains that she might not know how a country is run, but she knows when a government is doing its job of making life easier for the citizens. When this reporter asked her if she knew that prices of goods and services have gone up the world over relatively as a result of the recession, she said all she knows is that there is not enough money and jobs in the “system”.

Some shoppers ghanabusinessnews.com spoke to said the money they take to the market is never enough to buy the things they needed because before they know, it has run out.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Ghana claims that developments through the last quarter of 2009 and early 2010 suggest improved economic fundamentals driven by diminishing inflatory pressures, exchange rate stability, and a pickup in economic activity and an improvement in businesses and consumer confidence. But not much shows in the market activity this Easter.

By George Nyavor

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