Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo toured some companies in Southern Region on Monday, to inspect if they were adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures and find out how they were managing the pandemic.
Kandodo visited Makande Tea Estate, Capital Oil Refining Industries (CORI) and Chirimba Textiles.
“Today I visited some companies in the south to primarily find out the impact of COVOD-19 on their businesses and indeed, to see if they are complying with preventive measures that government has put in place,” said Kandodo.
The minister said he was satisfied with the way the companies were complying with COVID-19 preventive measures.
He added that despite having their businesses affected negatively by the pandemic, the companies visited had not laid of their staff.
“It is clear that many businesses have suffered and are still suffering because of the effects of this pandemic, but I was pleased to see that the companies I have visited have not laid off staff because of these effects.
“This is very good news to us as a ministry. While we are in the process of creating one million jobs, to see companies not making huge profits but have maintained their staff is very commendable,” he said.
However, Kandodo expressed worry that they may not be able to create the 1 million jobs within a year as promised because of the brutal effects of COVID-19 on business market and the workforce in general.
The minister was, however, optimistic government would be able to create a substantial number of jobs within the year with the initiatives it has put in place such as the empowerment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said such entities have potential to create more jobs and conducive environment for businesses and the economy to grow.
The minister also took advantage to tackle the issue of employing more foreigners in Malawian companies, saying it was unfair to give a foreigner a position at the job which a Malawian can do.
Executive Director of CORI, Mohammed Ameen Nathanie said he was happy that the Minister of Labour paid a visit to their company in this time of the pandemic.
Nathanie said his company adheres to all the government requirements of minimum wage, safety guidelines and prioritising Malawians in the workforce.
He said despite being hit hard by the pandemic and introduction of 16.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking oil, they have maintained the workforce.
The CORI Executive Director then urged government to consider revisiting the 16.5 per cent VAT on cooking oil to help them reduce their prices and be as competitive on the market as in the past years.
He also expressed worry that some traders were smuggling cooking oil from neighboring Mozambique, which he said was affecting their competitiveness on the market.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :