28 laid off as Malawi media giant Times retrenches: ‘Economic hardships’

Times Media Group ( formerly Blantyre Newspapers Limited) management has approved cutting the number of staff it employs— as part of a massive cost-cutting drive to save the media giant from corporate oblivion.

The media giant which boasts of chain of companies including five titles namely; The Daily Times, Malawi News, Business Times, The Sunday Times, Weekend Times and quarterly magazine Times Life Style,  announced on Wednesday that the job cuts are part of  its “re-organization and rationalizing of its processes in the light of the hostile economic environment facing the country.”

In a statement issued by the company’s Managing Director Leonard Chikadya and posted on their website, said the company has been forced to discontinue certain unprofitable lines and merge certain functions in order to remain afloat.

“The restructuring has seen some 28 employees being laid off while some 35 employees previously hired as casuals or interns have had their positions regularized as permanent employees,” reads the statement.

Chikadya: Job cuts
Chikadya: Job cuts

Chikadya said the company was forced into restructuring “in order to re-align it and keep in line with the realities of the economic performance of the country.”

It said the development comes as some of the key economic reforms which the government is implementing such as the liberalization of Malawi’s foreign exchange regime and the removal of price controls on fuel and utilities, despite their anticipated long term benefits, continue to impact negatively on the performance of the private sector both in the short and medium term.

“The impact and consequences of the devaluation and floatation of the Kwacha has not spared The Times Group,” said the statement.

“As a Company which imports most of its raw materials such as news print, inks, printing plates and spares from abroad, the continued loss in value of the Kwacha against hard currencies has resulted in high costs of doing business.”

Chikadya said as part of the restructuring, the company will have a new organizational structure and new job descriptions to reflect the new roles.

The rival company Nation Publication Limited, publishers of The Nation, Weekend Nation and Nation on Sunday, has however not made any job cuts.

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