COVID-19: Food, beer vendors making `big kill’, but sell largely on credit -- survey
By Nkeiruka Okongwu :
Ogidi (Idemili North LGA), April 8, 2020 (MOI) Food Stuff vendors and Beer Parlour Operators in various parts of Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area are raking big sales, following the ``sit-at-home’’ order by Anambra State Government.
The order, however, exempted those dealing in drugs and food stuff and as well as those on essential services.
Some of the dealers in foodstuff and Beer Parlour Operators have used the opportunity provided by the forced holiday to hike prices of items on sale to the public.
Some have quickly claimed that they were not to blame but their sources of supply for the hike in prices.
However, a few have confessed that they have been making huge profits more than ever before now. They claim that the only snag is that they are owed by their customers, who are promising to pay as soon as the sit-at-home order is called off.
While some roadside food sellers smile home with cash, some others have a growing list of debtors, because, ``we just have to serve our dedicated customers, most of who have run into bad times as they are not able to settle their debts immediately’’.
Some of road side food vendors say their evenings are now busier, especially from 4pm in the evenings until 9pm at night as they have to go the extra mile to serve many of their customers, particularly, bachelors and spinsters.
``The single men are more; they are the ones, who patronise us, the road side food vendors,’’ said Nwanyi Nnewi, who operates her food outlet near the Iyi Enu Hospital, Ogidi.
She added that some of the customers are the sick and those looking after them in the hospital as well as some nearby hotels that either do not operate functional kitchens or are too expensive for some of their stranded customers in their facilities since the start of restriction in movement in Anambra.
Mrs Lynda Umeh, a food vendor said that she had never cooked enough for her customers since the stay-at-home as whatever she provides get consumed.
``I sell off all that I cook before 8pm and customers still keep trooping in to ask for more food.’’
According to her she makes more profit now and puts in more effort at seeing that she satisfies, just a third of the customers.
``My challenge is that some of them owe me due to a lack of money to pay up immediately. These are my dedicated customers that I cannot bear to see go hungry just because of temporary setbacks.
``I have not earned any income since the sit-at-home, one of my customer’s Innocent will always tell me.’’
Even Mama Chinyere, a mobile vendor of cooked rice using wheel barrow says she makes double her previous sales and in just fewer hours than previously finish sales for the day.
According to her, even from her compound, she already has customers as well as those from nearby streets, waiting for her.
``I am now no longer able to get as far as I usually go to meet my customers; this is in spite of the fact I increased the number of cups of rice that I cook from 30 to 60.
``Even though, some finish eating before informing me that they do not have cash to settle immediately. I will settle you as soon as the COVID-19 holiday is over, are now a common refrain from them,’’ she said.
Mrs Ogochukwu Martins, popularly known as `Nwunye White’, a Beer Parlour operator, confessed that she has been making more profit now than ever before.
In an interview with an information officer, monitoring ongoing sit-at-home said: ``the truth is that I sell more with profit now, but hardly ever have time to rest. It's only my huge profit that keeps me going’’.
``My numbers of debtors are growing by the day,’’ she said.
Onyinyechi Nze, an Akara vendor says she is raking in money, particularly in the mornings from those relying on her for breakfast.
``I have even purchased a gas cooker to minimise the stress of relying on firewood to fry my akara. It has made my delivery cleaner and more efficient,’’ she said, adding, ``I am reaping the fruits of my past labour.’’
The officer reports, however, that it is remarkable that virtually of the vendors have water, soaps and sanitisers for their customers. (MOI)