Several business owners within the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), specifically Kairaba Avenue,
Westfield to Bakoteh Highway, and Jimpex Area, have expressed dissatisfaction at the high cost of shop rent, describing it as a momentous nightmare for all businesses.
NewDay spoke to scores of traders at different locations, and the common concern
was the exorbitant fees being charged by landlords.
A storekeeper along the busy commercial Kairaba Avenue who claims to pay an annual rent of D350,000 described the rent in that area as “terrible”. “The kind of business I do requires a strategic location; therefore, I deem it necessary to invest in a location along Kairaba Avenue. However, the rent here is very expensive,” he said.
Another such tenant also noted the difficulties he faces paying the high rent. “If I cannot earn more than the rent, I will fail to sustain the business,” he said, urging the government to establish a board to regulate rent to help business owners. ThereThere are also complaints that many landlords request to be paid in foreign currency, especially US$. This is believed to run against the stipulates of the Gambia’s Rental Act.
“The rent within this zone is very expensive and the most serious thing is my landlord requests to be paid in foreign currency. I pay seven thousand and five hundred US dollars ($7500). This is not easy.
Even though the business is not going well, my landlord would not understand that,” he said. He argued that the rental fees should be paid monthly and in Dalasi but not in US Currency.
Other businesses along the Westfield – Bakoteh highway had similar frustrations.
Some of them blamed the government for failing to regulate landlord-tenant relationships, adding: “There is a need for government to regulate rent to ensure landlords do not exploit tenants.” Currently, landlords are the law unto themselves, deciding the amount of rent and whether it is paid on a monthly or yearly basis.
He advised that government should come up with a policy that decides how much a
square meter should cost per month. “The high cost of rent is affecting both
the business people and consumers because if the rent is high, it would reflect on the price of goods. It would be terrible if this situation continues unabated because the rich would be richer and the poor would be poorer,” he said. It is also feared that with this trend, only the financially affluent will do business successfully as start-ups will find it very difficult to succeed.
Another affected trader said “The rent along the Westfield-Bakoteh highway is
getting expensive because landlords there are emulating Jimpex.” At the Jimpex business hub, one of the busiest business centres in the country where most building materials businesses are located, the story is the same. “The rent in Jimpex is too expensive. We pay $10,000 annually,” a businessman said, adding, “This high rent has a negative impact because it affects the growth.” He urged the government to put strict regulations in place to ensure landlords reduce the cost of rent as well as stop requesting payments in
Published 1 year ago on May 17, 2021