By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
As people are engaged in preparations for the celebration of the Muslim feast of Eid ul Adha or ‘Tobaski’ which is characterised by the usual pre-event shopping spree, it has been observed by both the vendors and customers alike that this year’s buying and selling activities are at a lower scale compared to the previous years.
Traders, who sell various items including textiles, clothes, footwear, etc., are complaining that customers are still not coming even with few days to go before this major feast.
Visiting the Serekunda and Latrikunda markets yesterday, Thursday, 8 September, this reporter interviewed both the traders and customers who shared their impressions on the sales and prices of goods.
Morr Njie, a trader who sells jeans and children footwear at Serekunda, said the business is not lucrative nowadays because of the sales. Asked whether this is not because of the high prices of the goods they sell, he responded that this may be a factor but added that the price hike is not their fault.
“We usually buy our goods from Senegal with the FCFA at a very high price and also incur other expenses such as transportation and the taxes,” he said.
He said the prices they charge are also determined by the type and trademark of the product.
“The shoes I sell cost D200 while the jeans cost D250,” said Mr. Njie.
Salieu Sowe, a dealer in factory manufactured women dresses and footwear in the Serekunda market, also expressed similar concerns.
He said most people now prefer buying locally sewn dresses than the imported ‘ready-made dresses’ that they sell. This, he noted, is affecting their sales. He, however, denied that they deliberately increase the prices of the goods, saying they are there for the customers and would not hike the prices unreasonably.
However, a tailor at the Latrikunda market noted that it is better for him this year.
“We thank God that things are better this year. The problem we used to have is that our customers only bring their cloths for sewing very late but for this time most of them came earlier and already have collected finished dresses,” said Baboucarr Gaye.
He said he wants to advice his fellow tailors to avoid taking too many contracts which they could not meet their deadlines to finish.
Asked how much he charges for a woman’s dress, he said it can be as low as D400.
A handful of customers were also interviewed who lamented the price hikes and urged sellers to reduce the prices of their goods.