With barely two days left before Christmas, sellers, particularly those in Paynesville’s Red Light Marketplace, are complaining of low turnout from buyers.
Our reporter who toured the markets observed that there are more sellers in the Red Light area than buyers.
According to some of the Yana Boys (sellers) the July 26 Independence Day this year was well celebrated, evidenced by the huge turnout of buyers, including those from other counties.
“Some of us have been selling one set of goods since last week because there are no buyers. People who have the money are keeping it. This is the first festive season that we have more sellers than buyers. This cannot only be attributed to the Ebola virus disease, but the increment of school fees that many parents are unable to handle,” one of the vendors explained.
Some of the vendors disclosed that they were also selling to settle their school fees and are hoping 2016 will be a different year for business.
They said if sellers in Monrovia and its environs are experiencing such poor buying from consumers, then those in rural areas must have a more serious challenge in their businesses.
“Celebrating Christmas has become a tradition for us even for those that don’t go to church for a year or more. If we have free education in Liberia due to the Ebola crisis, many parents would be able to buy for their children during this season,” said a Yana Boy.
“We have more people that are not working and even those that are going to school and graduating can’t find jobs easily. If people were not concerned about their children’s school fees, they will buy and make the children happy in celebrating the season,” they said.
James Akoi, a Yana Boy told this newspaper that he believes that parents were deliberately choosing to pay their children’s school fees than to celebrate Christmas.
“I cannot buy season clothes for my daughter when she stands no better chance of being in school. I must keep my money to send her to school than to buy Christmas clothes,” he said, expressing what the parents are thinking in holding back on Christmas shopping.
Many Yana Boys are selling clothes and footwear, which they said have been their usual business during the season.