Operators of books and stationery stores in the Central Business District of Accra say they are still yet to make the expected revenue from the partial reopening of schools across the country.
The COVID-19 induced restrictions which affected schools have taken a toll on this business, and the partial reopening has not made any significant difference.
The bulk sale of books and stationery is mostly seasonal, because such materials are largely patronized in bulk when schools reopen or are in session.It was therefore the expectation of dealers in books and stationery that after schools partially reopened for classes to begin, there will be a gradual spike in sales; but that wasn’t the case.
“There was an announcement that the JHS 2 students are going to resume on October and they have bought books for the year already, so there hasn’t been any change in sales. We are starving, because we depend solely on the sales, both workers and owners of the shops,” Seth Addo, a Sales Executive at Topman Books to Citi Business News.
The book shop operators say they dread what awaits them in the coming months as they look forward to the full resumption of school activities in January 2021.
“If from January they resume full activities, from Kindergarten to the highest level, then we can hope for some respite. With that, they will be starting afresh and would have to buy new books. Some of us are really starving, how are we going to pay workers and debtors, who have already supplied their products. This is a critical issue,” Seth Addo noted.
Linda Yeboah, a dealer in books and stationery, also said, she was expecting President Akufo Addo to announce the “full reopening of schools across the country.
“I was very disappointed after I heard the announcement on another partial reopening. So, for now, sales are very low and there’s nothing we can do”.
While some have resorted to introducing other items to their wares to make a living, others say they may consider trying other business ventures.
“It’s been almost six months now since we enjoyed good sales. Because of the COVID, we come to work and sell close to nothing. Sales have been really bad. Book sellers are feeling the brunt. If things remain the way they are, I will quit the books business and look for something else to do. I could venture into the clothes business or the sale of shoes,” Samuel Tetteh, another books seller lamented.
Schools in Ghana were closed in March as part of efforts by government to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
However, following consultations by the Ghana Education Service with stakeholders, second-year Junior High School and Senior High School students will be returning to school on October 5, 2020.
All JHS two and SHS two students will be given reusable face masks like was done for the final year JHS and SHS students who reported to school earlier in the year.