By Sany Weng – General Manager of Mozambique Managed Offices (MMO)
As Mozambique exports its first LNG, the security situation in the north slowly improves, and COVID restrictions ease, multinational companies and ex-pats are returning – and they’re looking for new workspaces.
A variety of new co-working and flexible office solutions have entered the property market to meet the demands of this economic recovery. A significant trend has been the increase in residential properties being converted into office space.
Regulation of these businesses is limited and often they are not issued with the correct licences to operate by Conservatoria Registo Predial. They have not passed the requisite inspections and therefore do not pay the appropriate fees and taxes for operating a co-working space. Other businesses such as clinics, vets, restaurants, kindergartens and schools have also opened in residential areas.
At the recent Mozamreal property forum, held in Maputo, I challenged a panel of experts with the following question: “Is there any law or regulator preventing companies from opening offices in private homes and apartments? Like it or not, they are direct competition for office buildings, commercial spaces and serviced offices like MMO.”
Unfortunately, none of the panellists could shed light on the problem so after the forum I, posted the same question on Linkedin and the business community responded with their concerns about a range of issues caused by unregulated developments.
“In addition to reducing demand for quality purpose-built offices it, also creates traffic and parking issues in what are supposed to be residential areas of Maputo,” says Phil Taylor, Maris Country Manager for Mozambique. “Cars regularly block walkways, forcing pedestrians into the road. Clear commercial and residential zoning rules are critical to the orderly and sustainable development of the city.”
Creating Sustainable Co-working Office Spaces
Effective and sustainable office space is about much more than price. MMO offices are purpose-built and maintained to international executive standards, meeting all regulatory standards in Mozambique. Each of our properties has a modern design, furnishings and state-of-the-art IT and equipment, making it a comfortable environment for working professionals.
Organisations operating in Mozambique must be dynamic in nature and at MMO we understand that offering flexible rental and contract periods, allows our tenants to respond immediately to changes in their operational requirements, staff numbers and subsequent office needs. We allow organisations to upscale their office in times of growth – keeping fit-out costs to a minimum – and down-size quickly as needed.
This level of quality and flexibility is difficult to achieve in a non-purpose-built office environment. Without intervention and more active regulation by the Inspecção de Actividades Económicas all parties face a lose-lose situation — including the residents of Maputo. The solution? To make it mandatory for businesses to operate only in commercial spaces that have been fully inspected, approved and licensed.