Friday, August 31, 2012
Ghana stands still
AUGUST 10, 2012 (Front Page) BUSINESS activities in the corporate world have slowed down drastically as majority of Ghanaians continue to throng the Banquet Hall of the State House to pay their last respects to late President J. E. A. Mills. Staff of various commercial banks and telecom companies mostly clad in mourning cloths rendered services to a few customers. Information gathered by the Daily Graphic indicated that customers, who usually visited these facilities, had a renewed interest. The new interest was to file past the body of the deceased President which has been laid in state since Wednesday, August 8, 2012 through to Friday, August 10, 2012. A bank staff, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on grounds of anonymity, said “it appears customers have lost interest in cash withdrawals following the death of the President.” The paper also gathered that most executives of the corporate world had thronged the Banquet Hall to pay their last respects to Prof. Mills, who passed on at the 37 Military Hospital on July 24, 2012. However, traders who hawked funeral cloths and other paraphernalia bearing the picture of the deceased President recorded colossal sales. A young man, who dealt in household items, was spotted busily putting together a sash bearing the picture of the deceased President for onward sale to customers. Some traders also adopted that technique and sold funeral paraphernalia in addition to their regular wares in order to cash in on the windfall. A six-piece funeral cloth which sold for GHC30.00 a week ago went for between GHC70 and GHC120.00. According to traders, although the cloth was in huge demand, limited stocks were available. Others had indicated that they had for the past 24 hours not succeeded in meeting the public demand. That, according to the traders, had contributed to the sky rocketing prices. The Makola Market, Okaishie, Opera Square and Rawlings Park were turned into funeral grounds as traders mostly clad in red and black apparel danced to dirges from loud sound systems. Sound systems blurred with loud music at 20-metre intervals. Different dirges in local languages mixed with each other creating uneven coercion because of the deafening sounds from the systems. A trader told the Daily Graphic that contributions were made to hire the services of spinners and further explained that each group decided to hire its own spinner and that according to her had accounted for the increased numbers of speakers at the market. A visit to some popular food joints in Accra revealed a handful of patrons eating with locked jaws. A patron said “but for my severe hunger, I would not have eaten. I have lost appetite because our President is dead.” A different scenario played out at drinking spots as mourners took solace in large volumes of alcoholic beverages. In all, the paper observed that any item aside funeral paraphernalia recorded lower sales.