By Mbekezeli Ncube
INGWEBU Breweries, a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) owned brewing company, has laid off 102 of its employees owing to a drop in sales of its traditional beer due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bars and bottle stores are among several businesses that have been ordered by the government to stop operating during the national lockdown period as a way of halting the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, Ingwebu Breweries managing director, Dumisani Mhlanga said the company was feeling the heat of Covid-19 as their sales volumes of the traditional brew had dwindled significantly hence the decision to lay off some of the employees.
“The tough circumstances which we are living in lately have forced us to stop about 102 employees from coming to work,” said Mhlanga.
“However, as the lockdown loosens, we will call every one of them back to work. But as of now, we are losing very large volumes of our supplies compared to before the Covid-19 era.”
Ingwebu relies on supplying its traditional beer to BCC franchised beerhalls around the city’s high density suburbs. Some of the outlets include; MaDlodlo in Makokoba, PataPata located in Mpopoma, Mambo in Tshabalala as well as Masina in Luveve.
The company is now operating at 44% capacity as compared to 90% before the outbreak of the pandemic.
“We are losing revenue for nearly 800 million litres of beer per month because our own outlets are not working at the moment. We only relying on supplying to our modern trade clients like supermarkets and wholesalers,” said Mhlanga.
Apart from supplying beer, Ingwebu Breweries are also manufacturers of Royal Mahewu, a non-alcoholic drink.