The economic recession in Nigeria appears to have no end in sight, but the businessmen and women stridently calls on state government to come to their rescue. CYRIACUS NNAJI reports.
Tejuosho Market remains a household name in Lagos and Nigeria generally as traders come from far and near to either buy or sell at the market. But the inferno that gulped the market years ago thwarted the pre-eminence rating of the market in Lagos State, many have argued. The Lagos State Government under Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) had rebuilt and transformed the market into an edifice in order to re-position it for international market status.
However, that project has remained in the realm of dreams as the traders for whom the market was rebuilt shun it on the basis of high rent and what is alleged to be service charge to be collected by the management of the modern market. Apart from the monetary aspect of the problem associated with having access to the shops, there is also the issue of street trading around the market environs which the traders say makes it impossible for would-be buyers to come inside the market to patronize the traders.
A middle age woman who spoke to The AUTHORITY on condition of anonymity said, “Many of us are outside because there is no market inside, people that are buying market on the street do not know that we are inside, that is why we come out to come and sell market. Here now we rent it, it is not for free. Nothing is free for Lagos. We pay N25,000 per month. They said they want to create awareness for people to know that there is market inside.” “I have shop inside. My shop inside the plaza is K-clap size and it is 15, 000 per month, but I don’t know the actual amount for the main shop.
The shops are category by category. Most of us you see here have shops inside, but people are not coming inside to buy. Government should make everybody to enter inside, reduce money that is paid for the shop and again, they should stop street trading, because when they enter inside customers will come and buy market. “If I want to buy something and I see that thing outside, I would rather buy it there than enter inside, so government should ensure that all sellers go inside. We are suffering because the money we pay in this market is too much, like today there is no market and everybody is sitting idle.” Celestine Eze who spoke to The AUTHORITY on behalf of the Chairman of Yaba Curtain Fabric Materials Association said, “Business in Yaba is dull because of recession. As it affected others it also affected us here. We are not doing anything because we are not seeing the customers. Everybody is complaining that there is no money. Our business is import based and it is being affected by the fluctuation in rate of the dollar and other currencies, the materials are not made here so the prices are 5 times higher than what we buy them before.” On why many traders abandon the edifice called Tejuosho Modern Market, he said, “People are outside because the new modern market is too high, the price is too high. Another thing is the monthly service charge of N9, 000, it is too high for a businessman or woman.” According to Eze, “This money goes into the purse of the management of the modern market, because that is the authority that manages and maintains the market. The government can make the modern market attractive by reducing the money paid for shop and reduce the service charge to N3,000, that would be fine. If the government can touch these two key areas people would be willing to move into the market.” On what he want the government to do for Yaba Market, he said “For business to thrive in Yaba, government should improve the light situation in the country; light affects us here because by running generator every day it adds to cost of doing business. Again the environment is too rowdy, we also have tout problem, but it is general in Lagos.” The AUTHORITY made further efforts to reach the Management of the ultra modern market, but they proved abortive.