High Rent And Its Threat To Retail Business In Lagos – David Atilola
Potential traders often perceive renting a retail shop in Lagos as a daunting task. Some traders complain about the hike in the cost of rent, which ranges from one hundred and eighty thousand Naira (N180,000) to two hundred thousand Naira (N200,000) per year.
This amount of renting a single shop in Ogba, a community under Ikeja local government area in Lagos, Nigeria, exclude some hidden charges, including a 10 to 20 per cent charges for maintenance. Before a trader gets a shop, the agent charges a specific amount to cover cost of maintenance, agreement and commission.
John Obi, a shop owner in Ogba community market, says that the cost of renting shops depends on location. In Ogba market, renting a shop is very expensive because Ogba is a big area, he said. “Everything is expensive- food, cloths, house.”
Obi, also said that the high cost of renting a shop affects every trader, thus some people’s inability to afford it push them into setting up illegal shops by the road.
“It is better staying by the road side, very sweet. Lagos State Government are hard, they are criminals, they’ve made everything expensive,” he said.
Speaking with another shop owner in the market, Emeh Precious, She said that, “To get a shop you pay two hundred thousand Naira, and the least you can get is one hundred and eighty thousand Naira per year. Shop rent is giving us headache here”
Emeh also said that there is exploitation in the market by the market women leader, Alhaja Ganiyat Kasumu. She said, “The Iya Oloja controls some shops in the market. She collects some fees from the traders and this is also affecting us because it reduce our income at the end of the day. And the local Government are adding to our problems, we pay grants for radio and television, accommodation is expensive, we also pay taxes.”
She said that apart from the high cost of renting shops imposed by the landlords, Government officials also terrorizes them by giving them expensive bills to pay. Emeh said that many traders in the market couldn’t save their money in bank because of what was collected from them. “Government officials come to the market expecting us to drop money.”
Another Trader in the market who sells shoes, Lawrence Akereje, believed that the cost of shops in Ogba is normal “if you do not pay (for it), another person will pay. In Lagos you are on your own. There is nothing we can do, everything is in the hands of God.”
Meanwhile, most of the shop owners accused the Iyaloja of the market of conspiring with officials of Ojodu LCDA to carry out the demolition of the Ogba retail market, which led to a protest to the Lagos State house of Assembly. According to the officials of the Ojodu LCDA, the idea behind the demolition of the market is to remodel and restructure the retail market. However, some traders have express displeasure over the action of the Local Government and the women leader, The market which started in 1985 is one of the biggest in Ogba and many traders in the market have resolved that demolition of the market will lead to more poverty as many people depend on retail sales as a source of livelihood.