A planned rent increase at the Manama Central Market has been suspended for two years after traders complained their pockets had already been hit by a drop in business.
The decision was announced yesterday by Capital Trustees Authority director-general Shuwqia Humaidan.
It follows a written plea by merchants, who argued they could not afford higher stall rents.
“The current business situation requires us to slow down any plan to increase rents, as the market is the nucleus from which foodstuffs are circulated across the country – whether to Muharraq or Hamad Town,” said Ms Humaidan.
“We have had significant rent increases over the years, but we can’t raise it by 500pc from what we charged two decades ago. I can’t drag the market, which is the central source of food sustainability in this country, into doom. From here we need to balance our approach, instead of unnecessarily getting tough,” she added.
Traders rent stalls at the Manama Central Market for a period of two years and were initially facing rent increases upon the next renewal of their lease. However, the decision to delay means their next lease renewal will be at the existing rate.
The rent increase is then scheduled to be applied from late 2021. A decision to push back the rent hike was taken after it emerged there were still outstanding rents of BD213,751 owed by traders, dating back three decades.