Business yet to recover in Juba
By Deng Machol
Jebel Market, one of the biggest and profitable markets in Juba, where shopkeepers used to get estimated 400 to 500 South Sudanese pounds a day, has witnessed a decline in customers since the violence broke out in Mid-December last year.
The fighting that erupted at Gieda military barrack, adjacent to Jebel Market estate, forced the residents to flee their houses, who were also focal clients/customers of the market.
Despite the improvement in security in Juba today, Garry James, an Ethiopian businessman in Jebel Market, told our reporter that there is no business going on now.
“There are no customers, people are still fearing to return to their houses in Jebel Estate, they are now residing in Tongping, Juba town, Buluk, Hai Amaret and Custom estates, no customer to buy commodities” Said Garry. Before violence, Garry says he used to make about 400 South Sudanese pounds a day, but now it has dropped to 100 to 150 SSPs.
Issa Omoro, another South Sudanese businessman, said that the market is down, no business completely.
“The items have even got expired in the stores, because there are no customers here”, Omoro.
Issa, who operated in Jebel market since 2007, says due to lack of customers, many shopkeepers have locked their shops.
Though the daily business activities is low in the Jebel market, Issa further asserted that he will not abandon the market for another markets like KonyoKonyo, saying renting rate is high in other markets compare to Jebel market. He said renting of shops in Jebel is 500 SSPs, but in KonyoKonyo is from 3000 to 5000 SSPs.
He hopes that, Jebel market will rejuvenate sooner than later as people are now coming back slowly.
In spite the current troubles, Garry is not scared at all. “I will not go anywhere [or to Ethiopia] because I came from the country that has the same story like South Sudan.
Garry, who has stayed in South Sudan for three years, running retail business, selling wheat flower, sugar, milk among others, says businesses in South Sudan is productive and profitable compared to his country’s.
Another, Ethiopian businessman, John said, is not Jebel market that is facing lack of customers only; there is no business in Juba generally
“It doesn’t mean that there are no people in Juba, people are there, but there is no money in the hands of people, that’s why there is always low turnout of the people at market places”, John said.