Muhammad Hafiz Bayero, the Managing Director/CEO of Kaduna Markets Development and Managing Company, explained to Nabilah Hassan Umar of Daily Trust, how the company intends to change the face of shopping in Kaduna State.
The ground breaking for Galaxy Shopping Mall was performed in August last year, what are we expecting in terms of facilities when it is commissioned?
Yes, it is true. We broke ground in August and spent about two months trying to tie up all loose ends to ensure the speedy and smooth implementation of the project. The mall will have 48 line shops, three Anchor Tenants spaces for a grocery store chain, electronics store and the likes. The mall will also have a cinema with three separate rooms. In addition, there will be 350 parking bays and a play area for children.
The project is supposed to last for 18 month, but it is yet to be completed after close to one year. What happened?
You mentioned that the project was meant to be completed in 18 months. We are now eight months into the project as construction started in November even though we broke ground in August; as we had to spend a few months crossing the ‘Ts’ and dotting the ‘Is’ . We are at 40% completion at the moment, in spite of the COVID 19 pandemic which led to a three month lock down of the state. We hope to complete it early next year and the time taken will be less than the 18 months that was initially earmarked for the project. We are also making significant progress in signing up the anchor tenants, occupiers of the line shops as well as the cinema. We will reserve at least 30-40% of the line shops for our locals who have shown interest. We are convinced that we will deliver at the best quality possible and ahead of the delivery date. We are grateful for the immense support that we have received from His Excellency, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and the entire administration thus far.
Kaduna Markets Development and Management Company (KMDMC) is handling about 16 market projects across the state. Is the company not biting more than it can chew? Does it have the funds to finance these projects?
There is a lot of work to do for us and there isn’t a better time to do it than now. We are aware of the quantum of projects we have currently, even as we have plans to take on even more. The goal is to significantly reduce the scarcity of lettable commercial spaces and ensure that the supply outstrips the demand. There is a strategy and a method to what some people see as ‘’the madness’’. We are very proud of our achievements in just one year in office. The 16 on going projects will all be completed by middle of next year In Sha Allah. We are working assiduously to ensure that and where we run into problems, we will sit down and look for solutions so as not to cause unnecessary delay. I am also not alone in the company. I work with a dedicated and competent team that is young and industrious with bundles of energy and expertise that are required to bring all our projects to fruition. With respect to the funding, it is pertinent to say at this point that more than 80% of our projects are privately funded through a well defined Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis. We receive at least five proposals weekly from interested private sector partners and we are always willing to work with them as long as they satisfy our checklist. We are happy with the level of interest the company has generated in the last one year and we thank our private sector partners, for seizing the opportunity to partner with the state to create a win-win situation for the company, private sector partners as well as the traders who are the major beneficiaries of what we are doing. As you are aware, we are also divesting our interest in the Sheikh Abubakar Gumi market, where we plan to raise N8bn from the transfer of titles to traders. We will reinvest this money into building more and more markets, malls and neighbourhood centres not only for urban renewal purposes but to ensure that anyone that wants a shop can get a shop. We also have the option of loans even though we are careful not to sign off on that unless we have to. We hope that from the budget of year 2021, we will no longer require any funds from the state to construct our projects.
Fears are being expressed that the markets may just be empty stalls and shops when completed because they will be priced out of the reach of the average trader. How true is this perception?
It is true that it is one of the things that bother our traders. But we have thought of a way around it. The Governor, early on, had recognized this challenge and has led from the front to enable us agree on a partnership with Sterling Bank, through their non interest banking window. Under the agreement, they will arrange mortgages for any trader that wants to use that option. It allows for the trader to make a 10% deposit to get the key to a shop and the remaining 90% will be paid off instalmentally over seven years. We appreciate the Governor’s foresight on this and thank our partners, Sterling Bank, for their unwavering commitment to actualise this. It is a key component of what we do as without it, the people who we are doing all these things for, may lose out and we will never let that happen. KMDMC stands for the low level traders who we will support all the way through. We will also ensure that all traders who have bought our property get a government approved sub-lease which is similar to a Certificate of Occupancy in their names. Our goal is to ensure all traders own properties with a C of O while putting an end to rent paying in the long run.
Originally published by Nabilah Hassan Umar at https://www.dailytrust.com.ng.