Ahead of election years in Ghana, traders usually complain about a slowdown in economic activities.
Several interactions with traders prove that business is normally slow due to the fear of possible election-related violence that might break out in town, or the attitude of customers having to save their money for Christmas.
Large companies also take steps back in terms of expansions; whereas foreign direct investments also reduce significantly because investors are usually uncertain about business continuity.
This year was no different.
The fact that the festive season usually comes right after an election makes it crucial for businesses to be cautious in their purchases in particular since the outcome of an election could change the dynamics in many ways.
It’s been a week since a little over 13 million Ghanaians voted to decide on which President and legislators should lead the country for the next four years.
Although the election is over, some traders who interacted with Citi Business News at the Makola Market in Accra said business activities are yet to pick up fully ahead of the festive season.
Auntie Afia, the owner of Afia 1,2&3 shops stated, “During Christmas season, we record high sales, but with every election year, business slows down. People are normally afraid to spend during such times. If it wasn’t for the elections, our business would be booming by now. Even those who don’t have money would have borrowed some so they could fend for their family. When everything fully gets back to normal, many people will come and purchase goods.”
Miriam, who sells toys for children lamented, “Last year, around this time, business was very good. We are yet to see if sales will improve this year because so far, we haven’t seen anything. Personally, I was thinking it was because of the COVID, but as it stands now, I can’t give a reason. From the election day, it has been so bad because the whole place was very quiet. We are just hoping from now till Christmas, business will improve.”
Samuel Boateng, a salesperson at City Gold added, “Mostly, we do see people getting married in the festive season so business hasn’t been that bad this year but when it was about two weeks to elections, things changed because many were saving. Many didn’t want to come to town when the election was taking place. Now that the election is over, we are expecting to see that we get on with this business.”
Although most of the traders complained about low sales even after the elections, Diana Gyimah, who deals in earrings, says she sold all her items.
“Before the elections, business was bad. People didn’t come to the market because they feared there will be violence. A lot of people wanted to stay indoors but now, people are beginning to come to the market. Business is really booming for me. All my goods are finished because I’ve sold them all. This Christmas will be good because customers will buy our goods,” she noted.