As the festival season approaches, some traders in Abuja markets have expressed concern over low patronage and urged the Federal Government to take urgent action to address the harsh economic situation in the country.
The traders who spoke in Abuja on Friday, complained that they had yet to feel the impact of the country’s exit from economic recession as announced by the government.
Mrs Ifeoma Oguebie, who sells foodstuffs at Garki market, questioned the veracity of the reported exit from recession, saying that it ought to have impacted positively on workers and triggered ripple effect on traders through increased patronage of goods and services.
“The number of customers patronising my shop has reduced in recent times.
“My shop used to be filled to capacity with customers buying foodstuffs, but now patronage has dropped significantly.
“How true is the report when poor masses are not feeling the impact?” Oguebie queried.
Similarly, Alhaji Wahab Mohammed, who sells provisions at Utako market, noted that most of his customers complained of lack of money and always priced his goods below the cost price.
“I am not even feeling the Yuletide that is around the corner. By now, I would have had customers that are into corporate gifts booking stuff for hamper baskets.
“The few customers who visit my shop only come to argue over the price; they will provoke you and leave without buying anything,’’ he said.
Also, Mrs Funmilayo Sosu, who deals on clothing materials in Wuse Market, said that her sales had declined so badly that she thought people no longer celebrated.
“I doubt if there are weddings, burials and naming ceremonies as well as celebration of birthdays in this town.
“The patronage of customers has drastically reduced,’’ she said.
In his contribution, Mr Okechukwu Ugwu, who sells jewellery in the market, said that there were days that he did not receive customers.
“Even the few ones that come around, will ask for credit and pledge to pay another day.
“I am left with no option than sell to them because nobody is ready for cash and carry business.”
He said the situation was worrisome and called for urgent government intervention to avert starvation by some families.