Persons who own businesses located on or around the premises of University campuses have their businesses hanging, since the closure of schools caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Three days after Ghana recorded its first two cases of COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo on March 15, 2020, directed the closure of schools at all levels to curb the spread of the virus.
After several months of closure, final year students of the various institutions were directed to return to school to write their final exams.
The partial reopening as announced by the government saw final year university students resume lectures to enable them to take their exit exams.
But after the academic year ended, most public and private tertiary institutions have been left empty, with no major activity taking place. This has, in turn, negatively affected businesses that operate in and around such schools.
A visit to the Accra City Campus of the University of Ghana saw business owners idling with nothing to do.
Rose Amika, the owner of a provision shop close to the school said, “The students have not reopened and they are our main customers. Now, because they haven’t reopened, we do not get any income. Even buying food to eat is a problem. It’s only one or two people who come around to buy water. Right now, it is only a few workers who come around to buy stuff.”
A food vendor, Monica Appiah, also disclosed that there are days that not even one person buys from her.
“Business is not going on well at all. I come here from morning to evening and I sell nothing. I just incur more debt because I buy the ingredients with my money but I get nothing in return. I actually stopped coming and stayed home because the school hadn’t reopened. I only came back because I have a child who was going back to school to write her final exam. So I had to come back so I can be getting some money for her schooling,” she cried.
Philomina Mensah, who owns a printing shop said but for the few workers that come around to print and photocopy their documents, they would have not resumed work since the students are not around in their numbers.
“Business is a mixture of good and bad. I have operated this business for the past 12 years. With the virus that we are currently staying with, I would not say it is entirely bad. It is okay. The COVID has really harmed our business but it is not entirely bad. We get what we are supposed to get and survive. If students are on recess, we are also forced to close down because here is a student community where we deal entirely with students and businesses around. They are our main clients so when they are not in school, we do not operate. But we still come because of the workers around and manage it like that.”
After the academic year ended for the final years, it was announced that all continuing students of the University of Cape Coast, University of Health and Allied Sciences, technical universities and some other colleges should return to school on August 24, 2020 to also complete the academic year.
This was because they were not able to complete their studies for the year through the online learning portals
Due to this, schools like the Accra Technical University have been opened for the second and third year students.
On the contrary, businesses around this institution are making a bit of sales although the sellers lament a drop in as compared to pre-COVID times.
Doreen Nana Fio, a lady who operations a provision shop, told Citi Business News that “Business is doing okay but it’s not like it was before COVID. Previously, all the students were around. But now, the level 100s have not returned. So we are managing with just the 200s and 300s. During the lockdown period, I wasn’t coming to work because I’m dealing with students and the workers. They have been buying from me so I wasn’t coming because they weren’t here. The business is currently picking up. It’s good, but it’s not like when the level 100s, 200s and 300s were around.”
“My business is doing okay. When the final year students returned, business wasn’t so good in the beginning. The market was slow. But now that more of them have returned, the business is doing okay,” Adwoa Sarah, a food vendor added.