Spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai in Accra, Ghana’s major market place for auto parts and accessories; say the closure of borders and the disruption to general global supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; is taking a toll on their operations.
The dealers, who mostly import from China, Dubai and the United States, say although cargo transportation is permitted, importing around this time has not been a smooth process especially with challenges at the ports.
In the early days when the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, auto factories in the major spare parts producing markets in Asia and elsewhere, shut down their plants.
This made it difficult for these dealers to restock their shops and sustain their operations. Eventually, production restarted in places like China gradually, as long as COVID-19 restrictions remained in place, and more cases and deaths were being recorded.
As at 2018, trade between Ghana and China stood at US$7.3 billion, making Ghana the 7th largest trading partner of China in Africa that year.
Some dealers and importers, who’re members of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, told Citi Business News despite the seeming return of business activities nationwide, getting goods from the ports to sell has been difficult.
“One other thing that has caused this price increase is the inadequate supply of goods, because although Cargoes are coming in, majority of the goods are scarce which has contributed to the increase in prices.”
Another trader said “It is quite challenging. Previously it was easier to get the goods through to Ghana, but the situation is the opposite now. The situation has forced prices of goods up.”
The traders also complained about low patronage in recent times, although some admitted increasing their prices, while others have kept them stable to boost sales.
For those who have increased their prices, the excuse is that port charges for their goods have gone up.
“We haven’t increased prices. Not because they have not increased, but because we know we are not in normal times due to the COVID-19.”
“Obviosuly, there has been a slight increase in prices due to the poor economic indicators we have to battle with.”
Despite these challenges, the traders say business is picking up slowly, and are confident normalcy will return in the months ahead.