FILE PHOTO: Oshodi market

Mrs Folashade Banjoko, the ‘Iyaloja’ of the popular Oshodi Market in Lagos, on Tuesday lamented the difficulties being experienced by traders following the uncontrollable turn of events in the nation’s economy

Banjoko in Lagos said that if not for their comportment as mothers, they would have taken to the streets like the youths did during the recent #EndSARS protest.

“If truth be told if not that we are mothers and we understand that everything is tensed, we would have had our protest before the #EndSARS protest, a lot of us are in debt.

“Look at things from the beginning of this year, with the pandemic, we were on lockdown for months, before then a lot of people have already taken loans to boost their business, but they couldn’t payback.

“Countless times I have had to settle disputes between my people and microfinance representatives, it is always a very ugly situation, and who do we blame, who do we run to for help,” she said.

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The Iyaloja said that the exorbitant cost of the U.S. Dollars had also made it difficult for traders to break even in their transactions.

“Look at the exchange rate today, the dollar is about N400 plus, and probably when you ordered for your goods it was N300 plus to a dollar now how do you reconcile that.

“Right now visit our shops, it’s almost empty, taking loans from the bank is not even advisable at the moment, interest rates are high.

“It’s terrible, we need the government to formulate policies that will be beneficial to us, we need to feel the impact of government,” Banjoko said.

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The entrepreneur urged the government to facilitate the building of textile industries in the country, in order to encourage Nigerians to wear more of ‘made in Nigeria’ fabrics.

“If we have our industry we can dictate the market, we’d have no business with the cost of dollar, this is not only for fabrics, and we need industries to produce what we consume.

“Nothing stops us from been consumers to producers so we can strengthen our naira, so we can actually be the giant of Africa’’.

When asked if the recent regularisation of trading activities by the Lagos State Government had made any positive impact on sales, the Iyaloja said the market was still scanty.

“Even regular market people can on some days choose not to open their shops because the market is still scanty, it’s yet to return to what it used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We are hoping that things will change, even to feed is becoming difficult, I can boldly say that women are the worst hit by this inflation.

“As women, we do all sorts of contributions just to ensure that things are running smoothly but we haven’t been able to achieve that which is telling on various homes,” she added.