Bahrain City Centre shops protest rent hike
Manama, April 27, 2011
Shops in the Bahrain City Centre mall are demanding action to stop a potentially crippling hike in rents of up to 40 per cent.
They have asked the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to intervene in a bid to resolve the dispute.
BCCI gold and pearl jewellery committee head Mohammed Sajid Shaikh said traders were shocked to receive notices saying there would be a rent increase of between 30 and 40 per cent after their contracts go up for renewal in September.
'The three-year contracts are now expiring and have to be renewed,' he told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'However, we were expecting there would be some leniency towards the business community in keeping with the present difficult times.
'On the contrary, we have been told to either agree to the rents increase or leave. That is clearly not the way.'
Shaikh said several landlords across Bahrain had very generously agreed to slash rents and write off rents for two months or more.
'The Gold Suq building in Manama, Al A'ali Mall and Seef Mall are cases in point. They have been very magnanimous and we are grateful for their help,' he said.
However, Shaikh said mall management were not willing to negotiate.
'It is difficult for us to approach them so we have roped in the BCCI board,' he said.
'We have several of our members at the facility and they are extremely upset and they are not alone because everyone there would be suffering.'
BCCI retail and traditional markets committee head Jawad Al Hawaj said he had received representations from traders on the issue.
'We are planning to take it up with the mall management soon,' he said, without elaborating.
'Traders across Bahrain, particularly in Manama, are facing very difficult times and need help.
'The government has done a lot for them and several announcements have been followed up with action.
'We hope we all co-operate and get out of this crisis together.'
The GDN earlier reported that the retail trade had suffered considerably losing around 80 per cent of its business during Bahrain's unrest.
Shaikh earlier said the gold trade alone had lost a million dollars a day in the week that businesses remained shut in March.
Bahrain City Centre officials would not immediately comment.-TradeArabia News Service