“Kalabule” Traders In Accra & Kumasi Cheated Ghanaians

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To Make Akufo-Addo & NPP 2016 Electoral Victory Possible

The post-mortem for the 2016 general elections has started in earnest, and it has emerged among other things, which made outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) unpopular and unattractive for re-election, was a massive increment in the prices of goods and services in most trading centres, especially Accra, Tema and Kumasi.

The astronomical price hikes, couple with other things, sparked an avalanche of public anger against the Mahama regime, leading to its defeat.

Interestingly, there has since been reduction of prices of goods across the country, particularly Accra and Kumasi to the excitement of buyers, who are being told the victory of Akufo-Addo, has already brought them some blessings.

For instance, prices of vehicle spare parts, have been reduced at its hub, Abossey Okai in Accra, because of Akufo-Addo, to the excitement of vehicle owners and mechanics working on faulty cars.

The practice known as “Kalabule” is the organized, premeditated and blatant price hikes by sellers for personal economic gain. “Kalabule”, became a household name during the Ignatius Kutu Acheampong regime in the 1970s, where it manifested in the hording of essential goods such as soap, cloth, sugar, milk etc, for traders to be make unimaginable profits on their wares at the expense of consumers.

Some spare parts dealers at Abossey Okai in Accra, have denied reports that their decision to reduce prices of products ahead of the Christmas season, was done in solidarity with the newly elected President, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The leadership of the spare part dealers, say the recent decrease in prices by some traders, is as a result of a regular Christmas discount it gives to customers.

But an economic analyst, John Gatsi, has said it was strange to believe the claims of the leadership of the spare part dealers.

Additionally, The Herald’s sources in the Ashanti Regional capital; Kumasi, have told the paper that the Ashanti Regional NPP Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, popularly known as “Chairman Wontumi” has been on a couple of radio stations, asking traders in the metropolis to reduce the prices of the goods since Akufo-Addo has won the election.

This is, however, not the first time traders have had to reduce prices. In 2001, following the victory of John Agyekum Kufuor and the NPP over John Evans Atta-Mills and the NDC, prices were reduced in a similar manner by the traders, signifying an unholy alliance between the NPP and the traders.

But speaking on Citi Eyewitness News last Friday, Mr. Siaw Ampadu, a leader of the traders at Abossey Okai said, the reduction in prices was not due to political reasons; but is to afford customers the opportunity to buy their products at reduced cost.

“It is true that we have cut our prices down but it is not due to political reasons. Since 2007, we find ways to cut down on our prices so that our customers can purchase our products. Being in the Christmas time, people travel a lot and if the prices are high, they cannot buy from us so we try to cut our prices every December and we started since 2007,” he said.

There are speculations the dealers reduced their prices to support the newly-elected government after it had sabotaged the incumbent NDC by selling at high prices. But according to Mr. Ampadu, “Abossey Okai is not doing politics with this. It is not because of Nana Akufo-Addo we are doing this.”

He insisted that, the move was genuine in spite of economic challenges such as high import duties, high interest rates and high exchange rate that traders go through.

He said there was no definite percentage of reduction being offered to customers, however, the traders offered discounts that made economic sense.

According to Mr. Gatsi, some traders are undertaking the action due to the election of Nana Akufo-Addo as President of Ghana at the just ended elections, saying this was done in the year 2000, when then President Kufuor ,was elected.

He noted that, it may be possible for an opposition party to use the traders as a tool against the incumbent government, by urging them to increase prices of their products and accuse the government for the high costs.

He, however, said one could not easily connect the current reduction to the outcome of the elections, since this is happening after the elections.

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