COVID-19: Some traders at Accra Arts Centre close shops over low sales
Once a vibrant tourist haven of Ghana filled with Ghanaians from the diaspora and other foreign nationals, has virtually become dormant, following the outbreak of coronavirus across the globe.
The Accra Arts Centre which is one of the biggest craft markets in the country, had been in existence for about three decades. Tourists could purchase items ranging from woven kente clothes, paintings, wooden sculptures, earrings, textiles and other fashion accessories.
Some traders revealed that prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, they used to make between GH₵500 and GH₵1,000 of sales in a day, depending on your products.
The centre housing over 300 shops, can now boast of a paltry 40 opened shops, after some owners decided to close theirs over low sales and patronage, Vice President of Kente and Adinkra Manufactures Association, Kwame Amakye told The Spectator.
Narrating their challenges to the paper, Kwame Amakye who also plied his trade at the centre for the past 28 years, said following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the closure of borders worldwide, their sector has become one of the hardest hit, making it difficult for traders.
He said majority of their clients were mostly Ghanaians from the diaspora and other foreign tourists, which had been whittled down by the pandemic.
According to him due to the development, most sales have dwindled sharply, making it unprofitable because people incurred transportation cost to the centre, and ended up not making any sales to make ends meet.
“As a result, many shop owners, have decided to stay home, until the situation is improved,” he said.
He added that some of them made it an effort to come, just to ensure that the market did not collapse, in view of the challenges.
Mr Kwame Amakye appealed to government to as a matter of urgency to stimulate the sector, because COVID-19 had dealt a big blow to them. He said every process for the stimulus package must be fast-tracked to save lives and families.
“Sometimes, you receive a call from a colleague requesting for GH₵50, for his family to feed on for that very day, and I ask myself, what happens to the following days?” he quizzed.
A trader, Kwabena Kakra also told the paper that the government’s stimulus package is their only hope for activities to bounce back in the midst of the difficulties
“It is our prayer that a vaccine is found within this shortest possible time to bring situation under control,” he said.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, movement of people across borders had come to a standstill as countries closed their entry points to contain the virus.
By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme