Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Traders Complain of Low Patronage, Allege Chinese Invasion of Markets

Some traders in the Balogun market in Lagos on Friday complained of low patronage in spite of preparation for Christmas and New year festivities.

Dealers in textile and allied materials, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), blamed the low sales on the alleged invasion of the market by Chinese traders.

They, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to introduce measure to enhance the quality of Nigerian made products.

Mrs Azeez Kuburat, who deals in textile material called "aso-oke", said that the cloth, which is indigenous to Nigerians, was now being manufactured by Chinese.

"It is a shame that Chinese produce better quality and varieties of aso-oke.

"The Chinese claimed that they get aids from their home government," she said.

Kuburat said that local products would be able to compete with those of Chinese if the Federal Government could also empower local industries.

"We still use crude method to weave aso-oke.

"We need to upgrade our technology so as to stand out and protect our cultural heritage," she said.

She said that aso-oke, which sold for N4,500 before had come down to N4,000, while the one for N3,200 was now N,2800.

"In spite of the price slash, people still go to Chinese shops to buy aso-oke," she said.

Mrs Ekwehirehmadu Florence, another trader, said that there was need for government to formulate policies to compel the use of indigenous products.

"Government should be actively involved in boosting and spreading indigenous products to a level where they can compete anywhere in the world," she said.

Mr Okechukwu Nwoko of Top Integrated Service Ltd., also complained that Chinese had taken over Nigerian markets.

"The Chinese traders have been able to make inroads into the Nigerian markets because of the strong support from their government.

Mr Pit Micheal, a Chinese trader at the Balogun market, confirmed to NAN that his clothing materials were enjoying high patronage.

He attributed this to the superior quality of Chinese products and their lower prices.

Mrs Min Zue, another Chinese trader, said that Nigerians like cheap things and so if there was a little slash in price that was favourable to them, they were most likely to jump at it.

"We make new things every day, so if you come to our shop you will see something new every day.

"So you can say we are versatile," Zue said.

NAN

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