Misbah ud Din
PESHAWAR: The demand for hand sanitizers and facemask suddenly went high in March and April last year when the novel coronavirus started spreading in the country, leaving most of the stores out of stock.
As the gap between demand and supply widened, the prices of these items also soared exorbitantly. The prices of these products skyrocketed to the tune that a simple surgical facemask, which was earlier available at Rs10 only, was sold at Rs30 to Rs40 in the market. Similarly, the prices were also increased by almost 50 percent.
Since the country is facing the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the government has made the wearing of facemasks mandatory in public places, the demand for facemasks has gone up again.
Wholesale dealers and retailers say they have already acquired a significant stock of facemasks from manufacturers in Faisalabad. Fayaz Ahmad has been doing business of facemasks in the Firdous bazaar of the provincial metropolis for the last few years. He says that unlike other businesses, his business flourished during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Before the outbreak of the pandemic, fewer people used to wear facemasks. As the number of corona-positive patients increased in the country, people started hoarding facemasks, hand sanitizers, and other hygiene products thus the sale of these products grew up. The pandemic turned a blessing in disguise for me,” he tells TNN.
As the situation became slightly better at the end of the first wave of coronavirus, the demand for facemasks also dropped, he reveals and adds that he has made complete preparations for the second wave and acquired a significant stock of the products.
After the government lifted the lockdown, all public places including government offices, shopping centers, educational institutions, public transport, and markets have been reopened. However, wearing facemasks has been made mandatory for the general public.
Although the demand for facemasks and sanitizers has once again increased, the supply chain is stable as compared to last year. The surgical facemasks as well as the N95 masks are abundantly available in the market and one can buy them everywhere easily even at bus stops, outside the hospitals, banks, and roadside. Many of the pharmacies and stores have been complaining that the open selling of facemasks has been affecting their trade. The prices of facemasks and sanitizers have also dropped considerably due to their availability in bulks.