|Affirmative Action Group speaks on rentals|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 18:51|
THE Affirmative Action Group has called upon indigenous businesspeople who are facing viability problems due to high rentals being charged by property owners to register their complaints with the black empowerment body for intervention.
AAG's founding member, Mr Isau Mupfumi, said high rentals were forcing many black people out of business.
He said most buildings were owned by foreigners who were deliberately hiking rentals in a bid to frustrate the ongoing indigenous empowerment drive. He also reiterated that foreigners were offering more money to landlords, a situation that has sidelined black entrepreneurs who have weak financial backgrounds.
"Some of the rentals that are being charged are shocking and bad for business. Where is the Rent Board that used to solve these cases? What we are saying as AAG is that all those who feel let down by the high rentals they are being forced to pay should come with their papers to us for intervention.
"Landlords are unjustifiably making thousands monthly at the expense of the tenants who are renting their shops. As AAG, we need to protect our constituency and ensure that indigenous businesspeople are treated fairly. We want the Rent Board to gazette rentals as per location, size and nature of business. You can not have someone operating a business in the locations paying $2 000 monthly as rentals. That is outrageous and we are saying no to that," he said.
Mr Mupfumi said retail business should be left in the hands of locals and not foreigners.
"We don't want foreigners who come and resell things here because we can do that and we have been doing that. We want foreign investment in heavy industries such as mining, power generation, timber processing and so forth and not for foreigners to come up and open boutiques and flea markets."
Mr Mupfumi said local businesspeople have to be given preferential treatment n order for them to prosper in the long time.
He said it would be unfair to leave the indigenous businesspeople to compete freely with international companies because they would be sidelined as the transnational companies have more capital.
"Economies of scale will come to their advantage and the local businesspeople will not see the light of the day.
"At this point in time, we have to protect local businesspeople and ensure that they grow to become big entities which have the capacity to compete on the international market without that the indigenisation drive will come to naught," he said.
With regard to high rentals the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube, said those with complaints should visit his ministry and approach the department of Domestic Trade, Research and Consumer Affairs that deals with rental issues.
"If anyone is not happy with rentals and they want a policy shift, they should come to us with recommendations," he said.