SCORES of traders in Accra metropolis in the Greater Accra Region are reeling under what they see as the imminent collapse of their businesses, attributed to the depreciation of the cedi, rising cost of clearing of goods at the ports and low patronage of their goods.
Following this imminent danger, the traders have implored the central government to work extra hard to stabilise the cedi against the dollar, and also reduce the current high cost of clearing goods at the ports and economic hardships bedeviling Ghanaians.
Several of the traders who spoke in an interview with Weekend Today during a recent visit to some market centres in Accra stated that the levies and taxes imposed on their products sometimes exceed their capital and thus a major reason imported goods are expensive at the various markets in the country.
The frustrated traders listed the cedi depreciation, bureaucracy, high interest rate, and delays in clearing goods among others as factors accounting for the expensive nature of products in the Ghanaian markets.
They lamented to Today that the situation of the cedi depreciation against the dollar, high cost of clearing goods at the ports and low patronage of their goods had impacted negatively on their sales and profit margins.
“We are sincerely pleading with the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, to include reduction of import duties in the mid-year budget review which is scheduled to take off on July 16, 2019 the traders stressed.
They further pleaded with the finance ministry to stabilise the currency from further depreciation against the dollar, saying that the currency depreciation was adversely affecting their businesses.
At the Opera Square Business Centre in Accra, Mr Jeffrey Dadzie, who sells electrical gadgets, fridges, fans, hair dresser products, and office seats and chairs, complained bitterly that the patronage of his goods had relatively gone down for the past two years, attributing the phenomenon to complaints from customers on high prices of their products.
“…sometimes when we come to the market and display our products for sale, nobody would even come to buy even one item from our shops and stores and we have to close our stores and shops and go home.
“Some of the customers would approach us to ask of the prices of our goods in our shops and will tell us that they are going to come back to buy the products and before you realise they would not come back,” Mr Dadzie said in a sad mood.
Another trader at Rawlings Park in Accra, Abdual-Karim, said that though his prices of goods remained same throughout the previous months, customers were not buying them.
Madam Hanatu Seidu at Makola who sells second clothes said there had been no increase in patronage of her goods before and after the Easter festivities.
According to her, despite the slight price increases in some goods and products, others were having stable prices yet there had not been any increase in patronage.
The traders, therefore, called on duty-bearers and revenue collectors to explore innovative ways to help boost local markets before asking them to pay high cost of taxes of doing business.
They further stressed the need for the government to take measures to fix the cedi’s fragility, saying the high cost of doing business in Ghana was killing them.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org