Bahrain’s traders hope for payouts
Manama, February 26, 2011
Traders at Bahrain’s Manama Central Market could be compensated for heavy losses due to protesters occupying the loading areas and customer car parks, preventing easy access to the area.
They have complained to the Manama Municipality that their businesses have been badly hit.
Municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam has promised help to revive their businesses, as protesters continue their week-long takeover of the area.
However, he said the low turnout in the market was also an opportunity for pending development plans to be carried out.
'It is very regretful that the suq, alongside malls and foodstuff markets, was closed for days due to the protests and the sad incidents that have accompanied them,' said Al Ghatam.
'These places opened for normal business on Sunday, but even then people have been finding it difficult to go there or because there are no parking spaces as protesters occupy them.
'Even suppliers are unable to load their goods to merchants and that's due to difficulty in parking their trucks on the slots allocated for them as camping protesters' cars are not moved. The whole situation is beyond our control and I inspect the market daily in the hope of finding ways to help poor merchants and traders who have seen a huge drop in their revenues and threats to their businesses.'
Al Ghatam said urgent temporary solutions were being sought to help revive the market.
'Unless protesters leave there is no real solution, but we can come up with ways to have another loading area outside the suq and then have things transferred inside or come up with customer car parks in the opposite direction from Naim,' he said.
Al Ghatam said the municipality's long-term developments in the market would go on without any delay.
'We have many plans to clean up the market, carry out maintenance and instal necessary facilities and equipment alongside having more structural organisation,' he said. 'This will now be carried out faster than before with less customers.
'I don't know yet if some of the rents will be slashed on merchants and traders or they would be offered some kind of support, but it is being considered as a way to help them make up for their losses that will further continue with protests.'
Meanwhile, Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Al Wefaq's Mohammed Mansoor said traders were experiencing exceptional circumstances.
'I know that merchants around the roundabout, mainly in the suq and even malls in Seef District and Sanabis, have lost due to the protesters' occupation (of Pearl Roundabout) and difficulty reaching the market.
'Even though it seems harmful at the moment, greater goods are expected in future. Hopefully this situation won't remain long in the roundabout as the government fulfils the demands of protesters for a better Bahrain for everyone.'
Mansoor said compensation was being considered, but claimed some traders had benefited from the occupation of the roundabout.
'A lot of protesters are buying food from the market in bulk quantities either for cooking or sweetening and I think that a number of merchants and traders have made more business than before due to that,' he added. – TradeArabia News Service
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