Inflation: Traders appeal for lower shop rent in Bwari Area Council

food market

Some traders in Bwari Area Council of the FCT have appealed to shop owners to reduce the cost of renting shops for business purposes within the township.

The traders made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, while soliciting government’s intervention in accessing commercial outlets.

food market

Mr Moses Nwoko, one of the traders who deals on electronics and other household items, said that the rate of increment by shop owners had become alarming that it affected the prices of goods.

“When I started selling here in 2019, my rent was N80,000 but last year, the landlord increased it to N120,000 and right now, we are hearing that he wants to increase it to N150, 000.

“When we inquired, he said it was because of the economic situation; cost of maintenance has gone up because cost of building materials has also gone up and that he wanted to renovate and turn the mini shops into a shopping plaza.

“It is a good development but there’s no money anywhere now. Business is slow and everyone is lamenting the hardship. The timing is wrong. We need the price to go down and not up.”

Nwoko added that there were vacant shops situated in most of the model markets in the council but people could not afford them because of the high cost of buying or renting them.

He said that if the council administration and their private partners could review the prices for acquiring shops in some its designated outlets downward, then, most traders could go for them.

He also advised the council administration to meet with the Landlords Association in the area to review collection of tenement rates in line with statutory provisions, among other issues affecting renting a property.

Another trader, Mr Sunday Haruna, said that the increase was coming after other shop owners started reconstructing small roadside shops into shopping malls and plazas.

Haruna, who agreed that reduced shop rents would be helpful in boosting the business, pointed out that location also mattered.

He said: “Some of us need to remain where our business booms the most. We are at the heart of the town, close to the main market and bus stop. This is where you get customers.

“I believe that is why the rent keeps going up but nevertheless, everyone is struggling, we need to help each other grow and not frustrate each other.

“If they want to increase the rent, it should be at a reasonable price and not because everyone is doing it or because they feel like doing it. Increment should be agreed between the tenants and landlords.”

He urged property owners to be reasonable and considerate as everyone was being affected by the soaring prices of foodstuff, fuel, cooking gas, transportation amid other challenges in the country.

Malam Aliyu Baba-yau, a footwear dealer in the area told NAN that he could no longer afford to pay for his shop because of its high cost.

According to him, renting a shop would also attract levies he may not be able to pay because of limited profit margin.

He however, said that he would not mind owning one of the shops if the location and condition of getting it was favourable.

He also said that it had also not been easy moving from one point to the other to sell his goods because of the harassment of sanitary officers in the area, who have warned against trading on the road.

He urged property owners to make the rents for their shops affordable for the people, saying that indiscriminate increase would only forces people out of their means of livelihood or comfort zone.

Meanwhile, a property owner in the area, Mr Izuogo Daniel, said that the issue was not peculiar to Bwari town alone, as the economic situation was responsible for the general increase.

He explained that prices of building materials had increased in the market, making it difficult to maintain some of the dilapidated structures that some tenants complained about.

He also said that most property owners depended on the rents they collect from their tenants to meet up with their personal family needs, as they also felt the economic challenges in the country.

Daniel, however, prayed for a divine intervention in the country, while asking Nigerians to seek God guidance in their various endeavors. (NAN)