Harare(New Ziana) -The business community in Zimbabwe is lobbying the government to extend operating hours to enable it to survive the difficult conditions brought by the Covid-19 national lockdown.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu said successive lockdowns have had negative impact on businesses with some closing shop, rendering many workers jobless.
Matashu said businesses and the general public were bearing the brunt of Covid-19 as there were no effective interventions in an environment where domestic resources were largely going towards supporting the fight against the pandemic.
“Another biggest challenge is business fighting Covid-19 amidst an internal fight for its own survival where operating hours have been set at 08:00hrs to 15:00hrs while a curfew ensues from 6 pm to 6 am the following day,” he said.
“Movement of goods and services is also currently slow due to roadblocks,” he said.
Matashu said the CZR was proposing the extension of business hours from 8 am to 4.30 pm and curfew hours to be extended from 8 pm to 5 am, saying that would go a long way in opening a window for more economic activity.
He said during the ongoing fight against Covid-19, it was also important to ensure that citizens and the economy did not die while stakeholder engagement was necessary in coming up with lockdown modalities.
Matashu blamed local authorities for increasing shop licence fees while the increase in tollgate fees were also contributing to the spiraling fixed and non-fixed costs for business.
He said most businesses had been reporting loses in revenue of more than 30 percent during the current lockdown and business had diminished its capacity to pull resources towards emergencies like the Covid- 19 fight.