Business activities are gradually picking up at Computer Village Ikeja, Nigeria’s biggest technology market clusters, after the yuletide celebrations.
The Christmas and New Year celebrations are known for long holidays when most of business and government offices are closed to allow people celebrate with their families and loved ones.
Technology Times’ visit to the tech market reveals that normal business activities have resumed but the atmosphere is far from the usual.
I was in the market just before the festivities and I reported how it was filled to its brim with buyers and sellers, phone and computer technicians, people who came to repair their gadgets and other merchants.
At that time, there were a lot of activities in the market which I described as a ‘carnival like atmosphere’ in my report.
The Christmas and New Yew break is over, people are back doing their normal business, buyers are coming in and out from different parts of the city, Nigeria and across the West African sub region, but the market is not yet crowded as it used to be on a normal busy business day.
I wasn’t as distracted with side activities this time as I was the last time I came to the market late last year. The crowd is now less and you could drop something on the ground and still pick it up, which may have been impossible the last time I visited. Many shops in the market remains half-filled with wares as I learnt the owners are yet to import new products to sell.
However, most of the business owners in the market seem not bothered by the slow pace at which business activities are picking up in early 2017. According to some of them that spoke with Technology Times, it is always the trend in January, and they are almost very sure business will pick up at a normal pace by February.
A shop owner in the market selling phone accessories who doesn’t want his name mentioned says there is no difference in the way things are going in the market for him. “For me, the market remains the same, there is nothing new so there is nothing to say,” the shop owner told me.
However, others who spoke to us have other views concerning the direction of business in Nigeria’s biggest tech market. A man who simply identified himself as Mr. Simon and hawks memory cards and flash drives inside the market says everything is still at low pace because many business owners and even buyers are yet to return from their holiday. Most importers are also yet to import goods this year, which means a lot of the sellers only have left-over products from 2016 to sell.
“After the festivities most people in the market who traveled to different places to celebrate with their families are yet to return, even on the part of the buyers, but believe me before February everything in this market would have returned to normal”, he says.
According to Simon, the market position “affects us as the market is yet to start booming, I hardly make sales now but I just have to come out. I can’t stay idle at home. As you can see I have only few products here to sell. What I am selling now is what I got since last year because the importers we buy from are yet to import but we will be managing like that until everything picks up.”
But for Nduka Iruno, another business owner reckons that though the low level of activities in the market at this early time of the year is nothing new, the present economic situation of Nigeria is also a contributing factor.
“Things are picking up gradually but things are difficult in Nigeria now. We have money that doesn’t have value again. If you change it to buy what you will sell, you will be left with money that can’t buy you enough products to sell. I don’t know what the government we have now is thinking; people can’t even buy kerosene to cook what they will eat before you talk of them coming to buy what we sell here, so things are tough,” Nduka says.
According to him, “government should do something concerning the current situation of the country. Is it not when you are able to take care of your family that you can come to this market and buy other things? So I will advise the government to come out in the streets and feel people’s pains, and by doing that, they will know how to tackle the problems currently faced by the Nigerian masses.”
The general expectation among the business owners at the Computer Village is that it won’t take long before things at the tech market gets into normal shape for business activities.
However the unfortunate economic meltdown in Nigeria as noted by market operators should be tackled by the government to avoid it undermining business activities in the market.