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Traders decry low patronage ahead of Easter

Few days to Easter celebration, food stuff sellers in various markets within the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State say there are no signs of festivity as patronage remains low.

When Radio Nigeria visited some of the markets, both traders and consumers were visibly disappointed about the current economic situation of the country.

They said people could hardly afford the items as a result of the hike in prices worsened by unavailability of cash.

At Ose Okwodu and Ochanja Markets located within the commercial hub of Onitsha, prices of some foodstuff have already been increased.

Also, the markets were not in a festive mood as the rush that usually characterized the season years ago was visibly lacking.

Mrs Nwamaka Ugwumba, who sells tin tomatoes, and other condiments, complained of low patronage, saying that goods are available, but costly.

She explained that the prices of condiments are still the same but prices of commodities like groundnut oil, salad dressing had risen.

Another trader, Mrs Chinelo Obike who sells perishable items like carrot, cabbage, tomatoes and pepper said the experience this year was unprecedented because of low patronage.

”A basket of tomatoes sold two weeks ago for between N8,000 and N10,000 has now gone up to N30,000 for small basket while big basket is now sold for N45,000”.

”A painter that used to sell for N1,200 is now sold between N3,000 and N3,500 naira while a small bag of onion now goes for N18,000 as against the former price of N8000. The big bag is N30,000 naira from the former N15,000”, she said

Grains seller, Ejike Ani said there was no increase in prices, but transfer and POS is really affecting them.

At the Chicken section, Mr Ebuka Henry said customers are coming but not in large numbers as it was in previous years.

”The old layers are sold for N4,500, broilers between N5,000 and N5,500 while the parent stock goes for between N9,000 and N10, 000. The prices may increase by weekend due to easter rush”, he said.

They appealed to the Government to be decisive in dealing with the worsening economic situation in the country.

Reporting By Oby Arinze; Editing by Marian Benjamin and Annabel Nwachukwu