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Informal Merkato, Akaki shops obtain legal status

For 20 years around 870 shops located in Merkato and Akaki had been operating informally but now they have finally obtained legal recognition.
The shops, 830 of which are in the Min Alesh Terra neighborhood of Merkato, along with around 40 in Akaki, Wereda 03, had been operating without title deeds or house numbers. However, they finally got a solution to the problem by obtaining legal status under the Keble House Administration.
Because they were not legally recognized the 3-4sqm shops had never paid rental or land tax fees.
Initially MinAlesh Terra was a Merkato dump site but through time people began building mini shops constructed of rod sheets. They would sell pottery, second hand clothes, shoes and metal products. The Addis Ababa Administration conducted a study on the shops and then set a rental fee of up to 15,000 birr per month but allowed the people in possession of the shops at the time of the investigation to rent them.
Million Kassa, Trade License Investigation head at the Trade Bureau told Capital that the shops were being sold from person to person without government supervision.
“When we started our investigation we understood that the people who first occupied the land were not in the shops, either they sold them many years or they were renting them out to others. The big problem concerning the shops was the lack of tittle deeds to renew their license. For a long time, the government tolerated this. We just required the people running the shops to have a proper address and to bring us a legal rental document. Now, however we have resolved everything and the shops are completely owned by the Kebele and have house numbers and rental agreements.’’
According toA Million from the 830 Min Alesh Terra shops 672 of them are obtaining a legal license and the rest are in the process. All of the shops in Akaki shops have completely obtained licenses.
Merkato which occupies MinAlesh Terra also is the largest open air market in Africa, covering several square miles and employing an estimated 13,000 people in 7,100 business entities. The primary merchandise passing through Merkato is locally-grown agricultural products. Prior to the current Merkato, there was an open market place in Addis Ababa near St. George Church at the site where the City Hall stands now, but it ended with the Italian occupation of the 1930s. The occupiers moved the market further west to the area around the premises of Fitawrari Habte Giyorgis Dinagde, which they named Merkato Indigeno. Thus, the present Addis Merkato was founded by the segregationist policies of the Italian occupational government.


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