Liberia: Marketers Lament Low Patronage During Festive Season

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Liberia: Marketers Lament Low Patronage During Festive Season
Liberia: Marketers Lament Low Patronage During Festive Season

Africa-Press – Liberia. In the absence of civil servants being unable to receive salaries due to a lack of funds at the Central Bank of Liberia, which has complained of being owed 5 million by the Weah-led government, sellers at the Waterside Market express their dependence on civil servants to purchase goods during Christmas. However, if the government has not paid up to now, they are doomed. Under the blazing sun, sellers sat on Mechlin Street, which leads to Waterside Market, preventing vehicles from passing through as few buyers search for things to buy.Kiadiatu Gopee, also known as Lawmaker, sells handbags and has earned her nickname from her adept bargaining skills when purchasing goods with friends. She proudly claims that she can establish her own rules during transactions, ensuring she secures a fair price rather than accepting whatever the Lebanese salesman offers.

Lawmaker laments the challenging business environment due to a scarcity of money in the market. Despite her bargaining prowess, she struggles to make ends meet, describing her income as hand-to-mouth and insufficient to support her children’s education. She contrasts the current Christmas season with the previous year, expressing disappointment that the festive spirit is subdued because of financial difficulties.

She attributes the slow business to the economic hardships faced by both buyers and sellers. Lawmaker emphasizes the impact of the government’s delay in paying civil servants, stating that the lack of money has affected the market adversely. As a seller who commutes from Gardnerville Estate, she highlights the financial strain of transportation costs, with the need to credit from friends if she doesn’t make sales. Lawmaker appeals to the new government to empower the youth by attracting companies to the area. She believes that the establishment of companies would create job opportunities and alleviate the reliance on the market for livelihood. Lawmaker underscores the importance of addressing economic challenges to enable parents like her to send their children to school.

Legouci S. Jarteh, also known as ‘Value Boy,’ sells ladies’ short pants and expresses concern about the sluggish business. He mentions that the slow sales are attributed to civil servants not receiving their pay, which affects their purchasing power.

“We depend on civil servants to buy, but if they do not receive their pay, how will they buy our goods? Two years ago, there was money in the country, and people were buying. However, since today, I have not sold up to two pants yet, and I sell one pant for LD$ 590.00, but business is not thriving.

I live in Caldwell, and every day I spend L$ 400.00 on transportation to come and sell. If I do not make more than that amount, I will be at a loss because I have to cover my living expenses and also provide for my family through this business. I want to urge the government to pay civil servants so that they can start buying, allowing us to meet our financial needs, such as paying our children’s school fees and saving for ourselves. Some of our friends are resorting to theft and snatching people’s items due to the lack of job opportunities, but we are trying to make ends meet by selling our products,” he explained

Bendu Swary sells both ladies’ and gentlemen’s clothes, but she mentioned that the way she is supposed to make money is not working because people are not buying.

“We invest our money in clothes, but people are not buying from us. Last year’s Christmas was better than this year’s because our clothes are still in our hands, and nobody is buying. I want the government to pay government workers because they are the ones we rely on, and those from whom we buy our goods are dependent on us because we have to buy from them for them to make money.

Therefore, if we do not buy from them, they won’t make money. When we bring the goods outside, and those who are working are not buying from us, we will not get the money to sustain our families. So, I want the government to please pay government workers so things can be fine for us. Only two pieces of clothes have been bought since today. When the government pays, money will be spent, just like during Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s time when prices were reasonable, and the market used to move quickly. However, this time, there isn’t too much activity. I pray that the new government coming in will make things better so that everybody can enjoy.”

Swary was not finished speaking when she was quickly interrupted by a female seller passing by, calling herself George Weah’s daughter. She shouted at the top of her voice, “I am George Weah’s daughter; there is no money because my president did not win the elections. So, this is why we are all suffering. If you voted against my president, then you won’t complain about no money. Let me hear with my ear, man,” as she passed by.”

Bobby Koko, who also sells short pants, was singing a slogan: “Women, come inside and buy to look good.” He mentioned that business was slow because people were not making purchases, and there were more sellers than buyers, as everyone wanted to sell. “At least last year’s Christmas was better than this year’s. We are only waiting for the last minute to see if buyers will come and make purchases.

If civil servants are not getting paid, it will really affect our business because when people receive their salaries, they buy from us. However, if they don’t get paid, how will they buy from us? To the incoming government, when they assume office, let them focus on creating job opportunities for the youth. Some of us are tired of selling on the streets, but we don’t have any help,” he expressed.

Gladys Williams, who sells children’s clothes, mentioned that the country is facing difficulties because of a lack of money, resulting in fewer people buying from them. She expressed, ‘Yesterday and today, I have not sold a single piece of merchandise. At least during Ma Ellen’s time, things were alright, but now, times are tough. There are more sellers than buyers because people are not making purchases. When the government fails to pay civil servants, they don’t buy from us, so we urge the government to settle their payments.

This way, we can cover our children’s school fees. Our livelihood depends on it. Since no one has made a purchase from me, I may have to borrow money from friends to cover my journey home, or I may end up sleeping in town,’ she lamented.

Mamie Kamara also mentioned that people are not buying because there is no money. I pay 500 to come and go back home. When they don’t buy my products, I don’t eat. Since this morning, I have not eaten because nobody has bought anything from me yet.

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