A Malawian tobacco processor, Kanengo Tobacco Processors Limited [KTPL] , has regrettably announced the closure of its tobacco processing facility at Kanengo in Lilongwe.
KTPL started its operations in September 2009 with the opening of a state of the art processing facility, which at its peak processed 32 million kilograms of tobacco.
According to sources, other tobacco companies such as Limbe Leaf, Alliance one and Japan Tobacco International [JTI] have already informed their workers that 40 percent of them will be chopped-off, a development that has raised fears of many to be jobless this season.
In a statement dated 24th March 2021 released by its Board of Directors, KTPL says the company just like other tobacco companies in Malawi, has been undergoing difficult financial times due to a number of factors within and outside Malawi.
KTPL says the factors including but not limited to reduction in national crop size, reduced international demand for Malawi air-cured burley, high competition of tobacco processing in Malawi due to high installed capacity and certain international sanctions on Malawian tobacco.
The company says these factors, beyond their control, have forced the closure of the company factory, and unfortunately, this will lead to loss of work for some of the 179 permanent workers in Kanengo Tobacco Processing Limited.
…”We thank our employees, who have over the years selflessly worked to keep the company afloat, Ministry of Labour and other regulatory agencies , suppliers and the general public for the support rendered to the company in the years it has been in existence…,’’ reads part of the statement.
The company is assuring all its employees to be retrenched that it will ensure that all are fairly compensated according to the laws governing employment in Malawi.
Meanwhile, a Malawi Congress Party [MCP] diehard in Dowa, Mr. Rodgers Kamphangala has described the closure of the tobacco company as a disaster which has come at a time that Malawians particularly the youths are waiting anxiously to the creation of 0ne Million jobs which is in the ears of every job seeker.
Kamphangala said tobacco factories accommodate temporary and permanent staff, some of these are at home waiting for their names to be re-called to start work in April when the selling floors will be open and these people will feel sorry to themselves.
…”This is not the best time to retrench workers, already many people are not working they were offloaded due to the Corona virus which no one knows when it will end…,’’ lamented Kamphangala.
By Vincent Gunde