By Joseph ETTA in Calabar
The economic crunch experience in the country is causing a screeching halt to businesses in Calabar. The traders in Calabar main township market, Watt Market and Marian Market are seriously lamenting over low sales and lack of patronage.
The traders in a chat with Daybreak stated, “money is not forthcoming, it’s getting harsher and biting harder especially after the election. Do you know at times we come to the market and borrow money for transport fare to go back home, the economy is too harsh and biting”.
The Vice Chairman of the traders Association at the Watt market, Chiguika Ihionu told Daybreak that workers in the state are not paid salaries regularly, we come to the market and will not take up to N10,000 in sales back home yet we have bills, to pay back”.
Ihionu who has been trading for the past 35 years in the market says “what we are experiencing now, we have not experience it before, the economy is very tight, let the Government open up the economy for us traders, we are now eating deep into our capital, we are not making sales nor profit.”
According to him, many traders are owing loans, some have ran away, closed their shop because they cannot pay back their loans.
He noted that the Government is not releasing money, both the Federal and State Government and not paying salary, “there is no money in circulation”. He lamented
Added to their woes is the custom special task force from Abuja, who they accuse of seizing second hand clothing from Aba as contraband, thereby causing unbearable hardship for the traders.
Also, the customs at Ikang axis reportedly have been seizing rice coming in from the Cameroon Republic. The traders are crying out over the high cost of rice, a bag of rice that used to go for N15,000 now goes for N22,000. The people are lamenting the high cost of rice because it’s the stable food of the people.
Daybreak learnt that; the action of customs is not unconnected with the temporal closure of the Nigeria – Cameroon border at the Ikang axis.
Ikang is the border town in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State, the town acts as a landing and loading beach that berths Boats, pontoons and trawlers coming from Tiko and Doualla ports in Cameroon Republic.