Resumption: Traders bemoan patronage of school items in Enugu


There are mixed reactions from traders in Enugu State over patronage of different school items like books, bags, sandals, provisions and food packs in preparation for resumption on September 17.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, who visited some markets in Enugu on Wednesday, reports that some traders are making brisk businesses, others are lamenting poor sales.
A major school bag dealer at Ogbete Market, Mr. Ogbonna Agu, said he had been witnessing many sales of school back packs in the past one week.
He attributed the recent increase in sales of school bags to the resumption date of most schools in Enugu State which commenced next week for private and public schools respectively.
Agu said the fairly used bags were selling more compared to new ones not just because of the price difference but because of their quality.
Another bag and sandals trader, Mrs Onyinye Orji said patronage of her new products were minimal because parents preferred used bags and shoes.
Orji also noted that some rich parents went to malls or supermarkets to shop for their kids.
She hoped that sales would increase by Saturday being the last market day before schools resumed.
At the stationery section of the market, Mr Godwin Tochukwu of Tochukwu Bookshop and Computer Stores expressed satisfaction with the sales he had been witnessing since last week.
Tochukwu said parents had been coming to buy exercise books, textbooks, pens and pencils and other writing materials.
“The sale is encouraging and you can see for yourself how my apprentices are busy selling and bringing in more books from our warehouse.
“Resumption periods are usually our season as booksellers, because if you do not have writing materials and necessary textbooks, you will be like a farmer going to the farm without hoe and cutlass.
“We sell at wholesale price that is why others that are reselling usually come here to buy. Even teachers of some schools buy from us and resell to their students,” he said.
However, a major textbook dealer, Mr Ifeanyi Chukwuemeka of Chukwuemeka Stationery Store said the sale of textbooks was at its lowest.
Chukwuemeka said most private schools now buy textbooks directly from publishers and made it compulsory for students to buy from them by including the bills to their school fees.
“The annoying part is that I was also made to buy textbooks for my children in spite of the fact that I am a bookseller because it was already charged as part of their fees.
“I have no option but to obey provided my children are still attending the school,” he said.
Another reason, Chukwuemeka gave was that students no longer value textbooks and the reading culture had died and as such, they relied mainly on the knowledge of teachers whether he or she was right or not.
Mrs Chioma Madukife, a grocery dealer said sales remained as before and that resumption had not increased or decreased sales of beverages, toothpaste, flakes and food packs.
Madukife said food flasks, water bottles and food basket still sold more than beverages although the sales recorded this period was not encouraging compared to last year’s.
Meanwhile, a parent, Mrs Chinwe Emeka-Abbah, said she was fully prepared for her children’s resumption as she had purchased what they would need.
She opined that although many parents were complaining of economic hardship, they still strive to buy what was of utmost priority such as  writing materials, bags and sandals.
Emeka-Abbah argued that it would be very difficult for an average civil servant who had four children in school to provide them all with everything.
“Let us be realistic, the salary of most workers are not commensurate with current prices of goods and services which is at high every day.
“Parents might have to cut down on some needs of their children since it is on that same salary or wage they will rely on for other upkeep and miscellaneous spending,” she said.
Another parent, Mrs Chinyelu Ndu said that she purchased second hand school bags and shoes for her children because of their durability.
According to her, fairly used bags and shoes are more durable than new ones and we get more variety of them in the markets. (NAN)

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