Dismay abounds as ministry opts to not renew licenses of corner stores in residential areas

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Citing traffic concerns, the Ministry of Business and Trade is following through on its plan to not renew the licenses of several grocery stores, barber shops and other small businesses operating in residential areas, according to local media reports.

The move comes amid protests from Central Municipal Council members, residents affected by the impending closures and many of the 7,100 shopkeepers who stand to lose their livelihoods.

The government has long been working to remove the shops, which operate on licenses gifted by the Emir years ago to Qatari widows, divorcees and nationals in low-income brackets, from residential areas, contending they violate zoning laws. According to the Qatar Tribune, traffic congestion is also now an issue.

But CMC members continue to assert that neither shops nor residents are ready for such a change.

The Peninsula reports:

The (CMC said) neighbourhood stores must be allowed to continue until alternative space is provided, as removing them from residential areas would put people to extreme inconvenience since these stores provide home delivery service and keep open at odd hours.

“Also, removing these facilities from residential localities would lead to a sudden and unprecedented rise in shop rents. Already, there is a severe shortage of shops in commercial areas,” CMC’s vice-chairman, Jassim Al Malki, (said).

Meanwhile, schools, educational centers, clinics, flower shops, chocolate stores and photography studios are expected to be allowed to continue operating in residential areas.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Alexander Cheek

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