Conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) Plc has said its business remains at low ebb now and going forward as it is losing out on revenues and incurring huge operating costs due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
PCL Plc group chief executive officer George Partridge, in an interview with Business News on Thursday, said the group’s companies and businesses are struggling with the pandemic.
“Presently, demand is low as most things are in a lockdown and supply chains have been gravely disrupted. This has ultimately affected demand for our products and cost elements because we have to manage this within our companies,” he said.
He said the group, through its risk department, has, however, developed mitigating measures to counter the crisis although the risk is not exactly what the group envisaged.
National Bank of Malawi (NBM) Plc, a subsidiary of PCL Plc, said the bank has equally been impacted heavily and in many ways.
The bank’s chief executive officer Mcfussy Kawawa in an interview said on personnel level the changes in the way the bank is conducting its business has come at a cost.
He said: “In order to protect our personnel, we have had some of our employees work in shifts while others are working from home. All this is presenting an added cost to the businesses.
“The bank’s lending business has also been affected as customers are struggling to repay their loans which has necessitated the bank to effect loan holidays. On the other hand, given that business is slow, we are not seeing as much activity in terms of borrowing from customers as they are waiting for the environment to settle down.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has massively disrupted global economic activity with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projecting that global output will contract by three percent in 2020.
This is not good news for Malawi’s economy as the global economy is what creates demand for local exports and this means that the initial forecasted growth of 67 percent in the medium term and six percent overall in 2020 will not be achieved.
The IMF has since revised the outlook for Malawi and it is now projected to experience a subdued growth of one percent overall in 2020.
Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) in its April economic report also indicated that business performance is also subject to several risks that have emanated in view of Covid-19 including other risks such as the current political crisis and the uncertainty that it is bringing, global supply chain disruptions, inadequate electricity and corruption, among others.
Meanwhile, government and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) have swiftly introduced a set of fiscal and monetary measures that aim at mitigating the Covid-19 impacts.