Traders at one of Ashanti Region’s popular Retail Markets, Alabar, say the continuous closure of borders is taking a toll on businesses in the enclave.
Motor bikes, tricycles and spare parts are largely traded at the market with many traders relying heavily on import and foreigners to boost sales.
Some of the traders told Citi Business News they have had to lay off some workers in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions.
At the retail shops, young men employed by the shop owners were seen busily fixing and assembling motor bikes and tricycles to get them ready for the market.
Sales however continue to decline with the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and its attendant restrictions.
Hamdan Bawah, one of the retailers, said he has been compelled to lay off some of his workers.
“The COVID-19 has really affected us a lot. You know, our goods are normally from China and due to the restrictions, nobody is going and nobody is coming, and now the least left they are increasing the prices, so it has really affected us so much. We have laid off a lot of workers due to the slow nature of the business here”.
He called on Government to reduce import duty to save their businesses.
Another retailer, Mohammed Amin, recounted how business was booming before the outbreak of coronavirus.
“In a week we could sell like 30 or 35 motorbikes, but now because of the COVID, is very difficult. Sometimes when we come in a day, to sell even two motorbikes is very difficult, but at first we used to sell like five and sometimes we sell ten motors in a day”.
One other retailer, Sherrif Annin also said “The prices of the goods keep going up. We had expected that things would have been normal with the outbreak of the virus, but it is even now that the prices keep going high and it is not easy for us. If all the restrictions are eased, I believe things will be somehow better. Although with the restrictions, business is slow, but we are still managing”.
The retailers are however hopeful that business will pick up once COVID-19 is over.