Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule says Shoprite management has assured government that it will maintain five of its six shops in the country.
She was responding to a question from Zomba Chisi legislator Mark Botomani (Democratic Progressive Party) in Parliament yesterday about social media reports that the franchise was preparing to exit the country.
Botomani asked the minister to update the House on whether the rumours were true to clear anxiety among the franchise’s employees.
“There is a rumour on social media about Shoprite intending to exit just like in other African countries which has created anxiety among its employees. So, you need to give an update on that,” he said.
But in response, Kamtukule said her ministry already engaged Shoprite management after hearing the rumours and it was discovered that the franchise will close only Zomba shop because it has been registering losses.
“We are on top of the game. So far, they have assured us that they are still in the country but are closing only Zomba shop and 25 employees will lose their jobs. They have assured us that they will continue with the other five shops,” she said.
Kamtukule further said the ministry is engaging Shoprite management to ensure that all the 25 affected employees are adequately compensated before the closure of the said shop.
Commenting on the same, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe said as soon as they heard the rumour, government engaged Shoprite management on the matter.
“Shoprite has six shops in Malawi and they said five of them are making profits except the Zomba shop which has been registering losses for three years now. So, they are closing that one and will continue with the five shops,” he said.
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions president Charles Kumchenga said in an interview yesterday that they are worried that many companies are either closing down or downsising.
“Something has to be done, otherwise many people will continue losing jobs. We can’t be saying people are losing jobs because there is no business or because of forex shortage,” he said.