Economy | National

Traders express mixed reaction over possible lockdown

Traders in Accra Central have divided over a lockdown as a measure to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some of the traders think a lockdown would be good to help slow down transmission of the viral infection, others said the impact would negatively affect their income.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Janet Amponsah, a trader who deals in soft drinks and bottled water, said a lockdown would impact her finances and wouldn’t be able to pay back her loan.

 “If government locks down the country, survival would be very difficult, even although I am not feeling very well, because of the loan I am forced to be in the shop,” she said.

Madam Amponsah said a way out would be for the government to either dialogue with the banks to reduce the interest rates on loans or for government to set aside some funds to support traders in case the need arises for a lockdown.

She also called on government to collaborate with corporate institutions and individuals to exploit other options such as the mass distribution of hand sanitizers to citizens and intensify education on the pandemic through diverse means.

On his part, a book and stationery trader, Nana Antwi, said even though a lockdown might affect the livelihoods of people, it is necessary for government to take such a decision for the good of the citizenry.

He noted that the increase in recorded cases has heightened the fear among citizens, and many people currently preferred to stay indoors than to come to town which has already affected sales.

A cosmetic dealer, Kwabena Elijah said government should exercise restraint in announcing a lockdown of the country until all possible precautionary measures have been exhausted.

“A lockdown will spell doom for some of us who do not sell edible products. Those who sell foodstuffs can easily hoard some of their goods for use but those of us who sell cosmetics, utensils and the like will be very much in distress.”

In case the need arises for a lockdown, Mr Elijah suggested government should rather consider a partial lockdown and rotate between markets so that overcrowding is prevented even as the needs of citizens are still met.

Second-hand clothing sellers, Kwasi Bright and Peggy Annan were of the view that government should go ahead with a lockdown if that was going to salvage the situation.

However, they called for financial support due to a fall in sales otherwise, “starvation would rather kill us instead of the coronavirus,” Mrs Annan said.

Mr Bright advised citizens to adhere to the precautionary measures outlined by health professionals such as avoiding handshakes, regular washing of hands among others.

Ghana’s count for Covid-19 has now increased to 68 with two recorded deaths. Over 1,030 people have been put on mandatory quarantine after shutdown at the various points of entry.

Meanwhile, the GNA observed that most traders were yet to return to the market a day after a disinfection exercise.