Responding to a questionnaire, Unilever country director Raymond Banda said the company has scaled down, maintaining only a minimum number of employees due to the economic challenges in the country, especially lack of forex.
He did not state how many employees have been affected.
“The magnitude of the problem is quite significant as we are unable to fully meet the needs of our consumers, customers and suppliers. Looking at the period between January 2011 and April 2012 when the effect of lack of forex has been greatly felt in the country, we have lost approximately an equivalent of five months sales.
“Over and above what is considered as the monetary value, we cannot quantify the loss suffered through our inability to adequately deliver on our promise to the local consumer and to our employees,” Banda said.
He said the company has only maintained a few employees to do procurement, financial monitoring and reporting.
“Other employees may be called upon periodically to carry out necessary work. We hope through this action to be able to build up sufficient stock of raw materials to enable us to commence profitable production in the near future,” Banda said.
The company relies on such imports as soya beans, palm sterling, coconut and other materials to manufacture soaps and cooking oils.
A lot of companies such as Bakhresa, Shayona Cement, Toyota Malawi, Stansfied Motors and CFAO have either scaled down their operations or fired some employees due to the forex problem.