By Chuks Eke
Traders in Anambra state have lamented the extent of damages which the ongoing Mondays sit-at-home, devaluation of the Nigerian currency and insecurity have done to their businesses is unquantifiable in terms of naira value.
They therefore pleaded with the appropriate government authorities concerned to come to their aid in terms releasing the leader of IPoB, Nnamdi Kanu to end sit-at-home and insecurity to ensure that normalcy is returned to their business environment.
President-General of Building Materials Market, Ogidi, Anambra State, Chief Jude Nwankwo, who stated this in his office while speaking to newsmen,on the harmful effects of these anomalies, said the fuel subsidy removal, foreign exchange problems and Monday sit-at-home affected business activities negatively during the outgoing year 2023.
Nwankwo particularly stated that since the problem of foreign exchange started, importers and manufacturers have been finding it difficult to get forex to transact business.
He said, “The fuel subsidy removal and the foreign exchange problem affected our trading negatively. We have been hit so hard by the subsidy removal because customers are no longer coming as they used to come.
“We importers and manufacturers have been finding it difficult to get foreign exchange to transact our business. And when you try to import; for you to pay with the foreign exchange, it’s times three because the rate of devaluation was too much.
“In fact, even to pay salaries of your workers, it was too hard to do and the workers also are also suffering because the payment to them is too meagre to sustain this economic hardship. So, I don’t know how to describe it: it’s a disaster. The policy is a very bad one.”
He, however, advised the Federal Government to look into some of these policies and apply some human face to them with a view to making it more friendly to business.
He said, “As one of the stakeholders, because businessmen are also stakeholders in the economic sector, we urge the Federal Government to review some of these policies as we enter into the year 2024.
“So, to us, we will continue hoping. We will renew my hope, we will still renew my hope for 2024 because we are not supposed to lose hope. What is happening to Nigeria has happened to many countries, So, I believe that by God’s grace things will get better.
“We want the Monday sit-at-home to stop! We want it to stop because it has really affected business in the south-east, not only in Anambra State. It affected mainly the downtrodden. Things are no longer moving as it used to be.
“Anambra State is home for business, especially Onitsha and environs. But right now, some businesses are moving over to Asaba and our neighbouring states. So I believe that it’s not good for the economy.
“The state government has been crying, fighting hard, and preaching for traders to open shops on Mondays. Because of maybe fear of the unknown, people are not coming to buy, traders are not coming out, transporters are not coming out, bankers are not opening, and people are afraid because of their lives. And, to me, I think the solution is not far-fetched.
“The solution is for the Federal Government, to release this our brother, Nnamdi Kanu. He has not committed any offence. I think he is doing what is lawful. He has not waged war against the country, against the nation.
“We also plead with the Anambra State government to come and help us so that the road that leads to the High Court in Ogidi and local government headquarters will be opened.
“The market members used their own resources to do it, but our resources can not be enough to tar the road. So, we need the state government to come and do it because we’ve been paying our taxes and dues as and when do.
“We need this road because it will help millions of Anambrians and our customers that come to patronise us. That road is very important to decongest.”