DOHA: Businessmen, while lauding Al Furjan markets’ initiative of the government aimed at opening shopping centres in remote areas, say the rent of QR6,000 for a shop is very high.
Prominent businessman Ahmed Al Khalaf said that these shops, of basic services and commodities, would not pose any competition to the existing shops in Doha or other towns because the centres will be located in the remotest of areas with no shopping facilities.
“The government should actually allot these shops to young Qatari entrepreneurs and low-income families,” said Al Khalaf. The government should encourage younger people to do business.
Since the shops are owned by the government, the rents should have been less than QR6,000 a month, he told this newspaper.
“Of course, the aim of the government is not to make money from these shops.”
But a member of the Central Municipal Council from Al Rayyan, Mohamed Mehmood Al Shafi, said that the government had decided the rent and bank guarantee of QR50,000 based on studies. “Over the long run, the rent would look less,” said Al Shafi. “The shops would be cheaper then.”
Meanwhile, Al Furjan project was a subject of debate on the local social media with commentators wondering if the allotment of shops would be made through lottery, without favouritism.
“I won’t be surprised if the allotment (of shops) is already made and even the names of shops decided. Don’t waste your time applying for allotment,” said one commentator.
Another said he had tried in vain to get shops in Souq Waqif. There were no shops available.
Yet another commentator said he had seen some shopping centres were ready, like the one in Al Thumama. Still another said he had seen one ready in Ain Khalid.
One commentator described the rent as very high and said Qatar Chamber, the representative body of the private sector, should intervene and help reduce the rent. Priority in allotment should be given to local residents, the elderly and people with special needs, some commentators said.