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PHOTO: Xmas In The Air As Shoppers Besiege Accra   
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Hundreds of shoppers besieged the central business district of Accra to purchase items for the Yuletide
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With three days to Christmas, the Central Business District (CBD) is bursting with business activities as shoppers, motorists, pedestrians, traders and hawkers struggle for space to make the best out of the festive season.

All roads leading to the city centre are choked with human and vehicular traffic as last minute desperate shoppers troop to Accra to buy their goodies for the celebration.

Human and vehicular traffic was more intense yesterday following the siege by visitors and residents who were engaged in last-minute shopping for the season and the situation is likely to get worse within the next 48 hours.

In spite of the introduction of the one-way routes in the CBD by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly about a year ago, most commuters to Accra were frustrated in finding their way to the shopping centres.

In an attempt to manage the vehicular traffic, the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Ghana Police Service has put in place mechanisms to deal with the situation to ensure that shoppers and motorists move about more freely.

Despite the milling crowd of shoppers, traders expressed mixed reactions about patronage, explaining that most of the shoppers were just on a widow-shopping spree.

They added that some of the shoppers attributed the slow business atmosphere to lack of money in the system, delay in the payment of salaries for December and the fact that parents were thinking of payment of school fees in January 2012.

Compared to last year, there has been a hike in prices of goods, but that notwithstanding, the goods like rice, cooking oil, drinks, confectionaries, children’s clothing and shoes are on high demand.

Prices show that a 5kg of rice which used to sell between GHc8 and GHc11 is now selling between GH˘11 and GHc16; cooking oil that went for between GH˘10 and GHc13 is now between GH˘15 and GH˘17; children’s dress which sold between GH˘6 and GH˘8 is now above GH˘10, while shoes that sold at GH˘5 last year are now GH˘12.

“Most people are complaining that there is no money in the system and they have to pay school fees immediately after Christmas, so they are being careful with spending,” Esi Amoah, a children’s dress seller said while wiping sweat from her face.

A shoe seller who gave his name as Yaw said patronage had not been as good as expected but was optimistic that he would sell more as the Christmas day approached.

However, Anita Ansah, a confectionary and drinks seller, had a different experience. “People are buying a lot of biscuits and drinks and I am sure sales will even go higher close to December 24,” she said.

The situation was not different at the Kaneshie Market.

Mr Kojo Amoako, the owner of a retail shop in Kaneshie, said he usually made close to GH˘1,000 a day during the festive season, but indicated that he could not boast such amount this year as sales had gone down.
Source: Zainabu Issah & Mary Ankrah/d-Graphic

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