Shopkeepers upset over hiked rents at new Muttrah Fish Market

Muscat - 

Shopkeepers at the state-of-the-art, new Muttrah Fish Market are bemoaning the hike in rental fees, while management company struggles to break even.

The worst-hit are the meat and poultry shops. “Electricity was cut off last Thursday. The meat and poultry section of the old market could be demolished at any time to make a parking slot for the new market. Our equipment is still in the old shops. The initial plan was to move to the new fish market a few metres away, which also has sections for meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables. But, we just can't afford the rent which is five or six times higher than what we're currently paying,” said an affected shopkeeper.

“Margins are small in our business. It just wouldn't be feasible for us to rent at the new market at the rates they're asking. We urge the authorities to help resolve this situation.”

Meanwhile, fruit and vegetable sellers, who have moved to the new market are also unhappy about the price hike, “We are paying significantly more than we were in the old market. We also had more storage space in the old market,” said an irate seller, adding “Less storage space means, more trips to the central market. If we raise our prices to cover the increased rent, no one would buy our produce.”

A municipality official said, “The municipality had organised meetings prior to the soft-opening of the market. Both the management company and the shopkeepers voiced their concerns and agreed on terms. We have also taken measures to ensure prospectors don't rent multiple spaces to sub-let to others.”

A representative from Unique Dana International, the management company, said, “As with all major projects, adjustments have to be made before things can run smoothly. We have adhered to the requirements of the municipality to give substantial discounts to tenants from the old market.”

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