South Africa-based chain store retailer, Shoprite, is not exiting Malawi as per the rumours which were making rounds on social media, Minister of Labour Verah Kamtukule said.
She said this in Parliament on Thursday when responding to a question from Zomba Chisi Member of Parliament Mark Botomani.
Since Monday last week, there were unconfirmed reports that Shoprite is closing its shops in Malawi.
According to Kamtukule, following the rumours, her ministry together with the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development Sosten Gwengwe and Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri met Shoprite management on the matter.
Kamtukule said the management told them that they are only closing the Zomba U-Save Shoprite because it is not making profits due to tough competition from other retailers but the other shops will not be closed.
“Shoprite is here to stay, they have made a business decision because Zomba is not making profits but the five remaining shops are going to remain intact and people are not going to lose their jobs,” he said.
The closure of the Zomba shop which has been operational for years will render 25 people jobless.
Kamtukule said she understands the negative micro economic spill over effects that the development will have on the people and their dependants but the ministry will make sure that they are duly compensated according to the law.
An economist from the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences Betchani Tchereni said the closure does mean that the economy is in bad shape but failure by the business to withstand competition.
Tchereni added that the development gives opportunity to local businesses to occupy the gap which has been left by such closures because according to him, Zomba is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.