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Probe high shop rentals – NAPTAZ

NATIONAL Business Tenants Association of Zambia (NAPTAZ) chairperson Joshua Mumpanshya has bemoaned exorbitant rentals for shops at most shopping malls.
Mr Mumpanshya wondered why shops are expensive to rent in Zambia when in countries like South Africa they are rented out at almost 50 percent less what is being paid in the country.
“Although, we are politically free, we are economically caged because everything in this country is expensive, be it DStv [digital satellite television], telephones. It is very expensive to do business in this country,” he said.
Mr Mumpanshya was commenting on reports that rentals for shops at Manda Hill shopping mall and Levy Business Park have been increased by 50 percent.
“I am urging Government to do something about this, because if nothing is done, the empowerment we talk about will only be a myth,” he said.
Some shop owners are paying about K150,000 for a 590square-metre space at Levy Business Park.
Similarly, some shop owners spoken to who sought anonymity alleged that Zambians are being exploited while foreign shop owners are paying less.
“The problem is that we do not have the bargaining power as Zambians. Our colleagues from [a named country] are given audience and they negotiate, while with us it is, ‘a take it or leave it’ kind of a situation,” one shop owner at Levy Business Park alleged.
Meanwhile, the new owners of Manda Hill shopping mall, African Land Investments Autterbury have allegedly increased rentals for shops by 40 percent.
Tenants that were paying K38,000 per month will now pay over K50,000 per month.
“We also pay land rates, parking charges, and now we will be required to pay service charges of US$4 to be included in the rentals. So, if your rentals are US$52 per square metre, they will add the US$4. If your space is 158 square metres you pay US$8,848 which is approximately K57,069.60. This is before [paying for] electricity, water and parking… [which is] over K70,000 per month,” one of the tenants at Manda Hill said.
On October 23, 2014, Manda Hill mall management held a meeting to introduce new landlords.
According to the tenants that attended the meeting, the new owners informed the gathering that a penalty of US$100 per day has been introduced for defaulting tenants.
Efforts to get a comment from Manda Hill Shopping Mall management proved futile.