Accra Mall considers waiving rent to cushion tenants over COVID-19 impact
Management of the Accra Mall says it is considering offering its tenants rent reliefs in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the businesses at the mall have lamented low
patronage since the inception of the pandemic with some of them even folding up.Employees of such businesses say they fear they may lose their jobs if nothing changes.
“In fact, business is not going on well at all. As workers, we are praying to God to see us through else we are going to lose our jobs because if our employer is not getting anything from the shop, how is she going to pay us”, one worker said.
Another mentioned that, “people were buying before but now due to the pandemic, the customers have really reduced. People used to come but now, they don’t for fear of contracting the virus. Today, for instance, the market has been a bit slow so we have not made enough.”
But Centre Manager of the Accra Mall, Denise Asare in an interview said, management recognises the hardship brought on by the pandemic to its tenants and as such is exploring the possibilities of granting them rent waivers
“Clearly we are not in normal times. We have been under a lot of pressure. Clearly we have seen very low patronage because of the lockdown despite the fact that we were opened for essential services.
We experienced a decline in our food traffic. With the Easter holidays and now the Ramadan, we are seeing the same consumer behaviour within the mall.
Obviously it is a situation that is affecting the tenants and the landlords. So we have extended our extreme support to our tenants and we are in the process of indicating our position in terms of what we are going to offer them.
There are rental release discussions we are having with our tenants. Not everything has been finalized but it is something we are discussing.” The Coronavirus pandemic and financial implications led to some staff losing their jobs with others forced to take salary cuts.
This is because the announcement of the partial restriction saw many businesses in the formal sector close down some of their branches and reducing their operation hours. Some companies have already laid-off casual workers and are preparing to cut down on the number permanent staff
According to them, it was no longer prudent to continue operations when the numbers have dropped drastically; while they still pay salaries, bills and taxes. With the announcement of the ease of the restrictions however, some formal businesses started opening closed branches.