Producer and distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Castel Malawi Limited, has resounded calls for the government to review the tax regime on beer manufacturing for them to be able to increase production and become competitive on the international market.
This, the firm says, will prompt a massive recruitment drive that will support the government’s initiative to create over one million jobs within a year.
This comes against a background of the company retrenching over 450 of its employees in the past year.
The concerns were echoed when Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo, visited Castel manufacturing plant at Makata in Blantyre.
Castel Malawi Managing Director, Herve Milhade, said the company has ambitious plans to grow its business in the country by four times but is constrained by the environment.
“Some months ago, the company was dying and effected a retrenchment plan to align the organisations with the company performance, if the company grows very quickly we are going to employ people.
“Job creation is a question of competitiveness, if we are competitive and have the oxygen to grow the business we will invest on facilities and then employ new people. Currently we import over 70 percent of the materials we use, we can start sourcing materials locally but we have to train people to supply the right quality so we need the government to create a favourable environment,” Milhade said.
Kandodo said he was impressed with the plans of the company and has to be supported to complement government’s efforts in creating job opportunities.
He was quick to ask Castel management to consider re-opening its Mzuzu factory.
“It is unfortunate that when there was a change from Carlsberg to Castel, some people had to lose their jobs but they have assured me that the business is stable now and with their plan they will be recruiting more people in the long term.
“It is good that as a government we look at the long term horizon but I have asked management here that all those that were retrenched ought to receive their benefits according to our laws,” Kandodo said.