By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
A STREET stall operator in Port Moresby has seen an 83 per cent drop in his daily sales during the nationwide 14-day lockdown due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Smith Kun said he usually made about K700 daily in selling fried lamb flaps, sausages, bananas and kaukau to workers at the Gordon industrial area.
He said he was now making only K100 a day since the lockdown.
Kun sells lamb flaps ranging from K4 to K7 – depending on the sizes – as well as sausages, kaukau and/or banana for K1 each.
“Now I’m making about K100 since I was forced to reopen my stall on Sunday after shutting down on March 22,” he said.
“If the lockdown is extended, my family and I will really don’t know how we will survive in Port Moresby.
“It’s not only us in the SME (small to medium enterprise) sector but the whole city will come to a standstill.
“Everyone, whether holding on to high jobs in both the private and public sector, will be hard hit.
“In fact, now the (prices of) goods at the market and stores are increasing.
“When we go to the freezer to buy lamp flaps and sausages, we have noticed a K3 price increase.
“I heard that the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) warned shops not to increase prices during the lockdown but it is not working.”
Kun said the Government would have to come up with a stimulus package for people in the informal and SME sector in order for them to maintain their businesses during the lockdown period, especially if it was extended.
“If not, then it will be very difficult for us,” he said.
“We will face a gloomy future.”
Another stall operator along Waigani Drive, James Tege, also expressed similar sentiments.
Tege said he sold cup noodles for K2.50, biscuits, cigarettes, and coffee packets for K1 each.
“We’ve been making a loss since March 22. Before (the lockdown), there were many people around and we made about K80 daily,” he said.
“Now, with fewer people moving around, we not making much, sometimes just K10.”
Tege said he had also noticed a slight increase in the price of the items he bought at the wholesale to resell at his stall. “We’ve noticed a slight increase of up to 40 toea.”
Soldiers inquarantineupon return
SOLDIERS returning from a four-month operation along the PNG-Indonesian border and the Highlands have been quarantined for 14 days.
Acting PNG Defence Force chief of force preparation Col Opa Lari said: “These troops are now being isolated in their respective barracks and are undergoing observation.
“We will monitor all our personnel returning from courses and overseas training through isolation. This is part of our preventive measures in supporting the nation’s response efforts to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have also set up a task force as of last Tuesday, to protect our members and families while working with our Australian defence counterparts in enhancing our capacity in addressing this pandemic.
“Under the task force, the defence force has established area commands in its major defence establishments across the country in order to ensure that the National Department of Health’s preventive measures are implemented.
“These bases include the forward operation bases in Kiunga , Western, and Vanimo, West Sepik and in the Highlands. These area commands have been given among other tasks to identify isolation and quarantine areas locally.”