Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe says there is need to review the 65 years lease of the Luburma Market in the Kamwala trading area in Lusaka.
Ms. Mwanakatwe says it is important that the terms of the lease benefit both the Zambian people and the contractor, who built the market and got a lease of 65 years before handing over to Zambians.
She says it is sad that despite the high rentals at the trading area, traders are also charged in United States dollars which is against government regulation.
The minister says the high rental rates for stalls at the market are not being helpful to the ordinary Zambian.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe said this in Lusaka yesterday when she made a surprise visit to Kamwala trading area following complaints from traders that they pay rent in US dollars.
The traders also complained of poor sanitary conditions and the lack of servicing of the infrastructure.
Ms. Mwanakatwe was accompanied by her counterpart from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing John Phiri, the Mayor of the City of Lusaka John Nyendwa and his Town Clerk Alex Mwansa.
Commerce Permanent Secretary Siazongo Siakalenge and Lusaka District Commissioner Davison Mulenga were also in the minister’s entourage.
The Kamwala trading area was constructed in 2002 by China Hennan under a 65 years lease agreement. China Hennan has continued collecting rentals until a 65 years lease elapses.
Meanwhile, Local Government and Housing Minister John Phiri has stressed the need to have projects that benefit the local people at grassroots level.
Dr. Phiri said this is because people at grassroots are key to the development of the economy.
He observed that difficult trading conditions, high rentals and service charges were hindering the growth of small scale traders in Zambia.