Amid coronavirus outbreak, a Lilongwe-based group of companies, Ocean Industries Limited has become the first Malawi firm to give its employees “special financial packages” as part of its response to the virus pandemic.
Many firms are warning of collapse, wiping out hundreds of jobs, as economy is slowing down.
Ocean Industries general manager Jagadeesh Kumar said they decided to send about 100 employees on a two-week paid leave in line with measures President Peter Mutharika announced don Saturday to decongest workplaces.
“We have given them salary advances and paid leave for two weeks to ease their burden,” Kumar said when interviewed by Nyasa Times.
He said the move is aimed at protecting the employees “because we’re all going to need them”.
Asked to explain what is contained in the take-home packages, Kumar said they had given employees salary advances, health kits to use at home and food hampers.
“We want to cushion them from economic hardships, but also protect them from health hazard,” he said.
Ocean Industries is involved in plastic manufacturing, real estate property and car hire businesses.
President Peter Mutharika said his government will do all it can to help private sectors so that workers are not plunged into poverty because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Mutharika announced a number of measures aimed at cushioning small- and medium-sized businesses, including tax breaks, a reduction in fuel prices and an increase in risk allowances for health workers.
“The coronavirus attack has a huge negative impact on the economy and businesses everywhere. There are many business people and industry players who are uncertain about the situation as it is unfolding. I know that everyone is worried,” he said.
“Therefore, government will take measures to protect jobs and incomes, protect businesses and ensure continuity of the supply chain and the survival of the economy.”
Amongst other measures, the President directed the Reserve Bank of Malawi to allow banks to offer a three-month moratorium on interest payments on loans to small- and medium-sized businesses.
Other countries around the world are taking measures to try to prop up their economies.
As of now the country has registered eight cases and one death of Covid-19.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :