Ntcheu district labour officer Effod Geza has expressed concern over the involvement of children in selling merchandise in the district.
In an interview on Wednesday, he said the development was worrisome
Said Geza: “Due to the closure of schools following Covid-19, some children have taken to selling things during market days at Mphate, Tsangano Turnoff and Kampepuza markets.
“When we ask the children, they say their parents send them to do business to supplement income.”
He also said Covid-19 has resulted in retrenchment of workers in the district, including Ntcheu Stadium project where 125 were retrenched due to the pandemic.
Linda Doya from Bunyenga Village in Senior Chief Makwangwala’s area said parents engaged in small-scale businesses are left with no choice, but to send their children to do business on their behalf.
“However, it is unfortunate that while parents know the risk of Covid-19, they are sending their children to markets which do not observe social distancing,” she said.
Mighty Liwemba, 10, sells fried fish at Mphate Trading Centre. The Standard Three pupil at Chiola Primary School said since schools are closed, his parents engage him in business.
“We are five in my family. My two sisters have gone to Chimwayi Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kwataine to help our grandparents. This has therefore led my parents to send me to do this business,” he said.
Another child, Nenani Chiyambeni , 15, from Naudzu Village, T/A Kwataine said he has no choice, but to sell Frozy, mandasi (fritters)and thobwa (sweet brew) to support his mother and step-father.
Geza says 10 percent of the district’s population is engaged in child labour.