Gulu bookshops and other stationary business owners in the Northern Ugandan city are decrying the low turn-up of customers even as the new school term draws closer.
They have placed the blame on the influx of hawkers dealing in similar stationary products within the city. These operate with very little regulation from the city authorities.
Call to crackdown
Florence Kajula, who owns a stationery shop in Gulu City, says it is unusual that stationary businesses register low turn-up of customers. This is at such a time when parents prepare to take their children back to school.
“We tried raising the concern to the city authorities and they promised to address it through a crackdown. However, that has not been done to date,” Floence Kajula says.
She adds that with hawkers moving door-to-door, many parents and students tend to buy the required scholastic materials from their doorsteps. This would save them from other associated expenses such as transport.
Similarly, Jude Onek, the manager Junek Stationery and General Merchandise, says many of the hawkers sell their items at much lower prices.
This is compared to those in Gulu bookshops since most of them don’t incur expenses such as rent, transport, salaries, trading licenses, utility bills, and other operational expenses among others.
According to the official school calendar drafted by the education ministry, schools will officially open for the first term on Monday 05, 2024.
Many of the traders in the stationary business across the country always take advantage of such a time to make huge profits. This is as parents and schools go on last-minute shopping to prepare for the school opening.
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