There are around 3,000 workers in 500 shops. The shop owners are struggling to pay the staff salary as their sales dropped sharply
Around 10 employees of Puthighar Stationary at Anderkilla in Chattogram used to spend busy times in selling stationary items five weeks ago.
With the outbreak of coronavirus, its selling started decline.
In March 8, when the first coronavirus infected patients were detected in Bangladesh, they started feeling their sales dropping drastically.
After closing the schools and colleges on March 15, their selling almost stopped. Visiting on Wednesday, this correspondent found all the 10 employees are spending idle times as are no customers.
Mohammad Erfan, proprietor of the wholesale shop told The Business Standard, since 10am to 2pm on Wednesday they sold only Tk1,000. But by this time in the other days, they used to sell around Tk200, 000.
"After the coronavirus outbreak, people started to avoid gatherings. At the same time, our business is related to China products. The increased price of those Chinese products has a negative impact on our business," said Shamim Sheikh, another trader of Anderkilla area.
All the 20 employees of Chittagong Accessories in Dewanhat area also witnessing sales decline for last two months.
Jahir Uddin, proprietor of Chittagong Accessories said, "We used to sell ink and various printing materials imported from China. We also used to sell some garments accessories including buttons, buckles, metal buttons and threads."
But after the coronavirus outbreak, some of our shipments yet to arrive from China. The sales also have dropped sharply, and our employees are almost jobless now, said Jahir.
"I have some bank loans and I have to pay installment every month. But if such condition continues for a long time, it would lead me to a great disaster. I don't know how I will repay the bank installment," Jahir added.
According to GA Bhaban Businessmen Welfare Association, there are around 3,000 workers in 500 shops. The shop owners are struggling to pay the staff salary as their sales dropped sharply.
Mohammad Iqbal Uddin Chowdhury, president of this association said, "Around 80 percent sales has been dropped here. Most of the businessmen are facing challenges to pay their employees and shop rent."
If the situation continues, many would be bankrupt as the businessmen are trading by taking bank loans, he added.
Echoing Iqbal, Ahmed Sharif Md Monir, former general secretary of Jahur Hawkers market said around 900 traders of Jahur Hawkers markets are fighting to survive now.
In Chattogram, there are around 20-25 large markets dealing with different items, including crockeries, clothes, electronics, and other commodities.