Mbabane: Eswatini Beverages faces closure due to trading challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eswatini Beverages Country Manager Director, Bridget Makura through a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page said many businesses in the country have had to take various measures to ensure their long term viability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that Eswatini Beverages cannot be different. “Following a 16 week ban on the sale of alcohol, the business has come under significant pressure and as result, is considering a review of its business model, with a view of finding cost effective means to supply the market,” said Makura.
Makura mentioned that the impact of the 16 week ban on alcohol has been severe for the industry, and has led to significant operating uncertainty for the company’s business, its partners, as well as colleagues in the industry, including participants in the entire value chain.
He further stated that throughout this crisis they had remained committed to ensuring business continuity, adding that the protracted nature of the ban has made maintaining the manufacturing plant costs during the ban difficult. “A number of interventions such as the 10 percent salary cut for all employees from July 2020, and stopping capital projects, were implemented to soften the impact of the bans,” said Makura, adding that to that end the business is considering shutting down all operations for the duration of the ban and continues to look for an optimal business model.
He said the Eswatini Beverages remains committed to being a part of the solution and they have supported the government’s Covid-19 response efforts with financial and material support. They have also appreciated the regular engagements that they have had with government for the purpose of effectively navigating through this challenging period.
Eswatini Beverages has maintained that alcohol has nothing to do with the spread of COVID-19 virus, hence they are perplexed over the government’s ban on the sale of alcohol, which to this date has lasted for 16 weeks.
In a Facebook post on the company’s official page they said they were committed to putting the safety of people first during this pandemic. They said while they continue to support the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, they don’t believe that imposing a ban on liquor is beneficial to the economy, industry value chain, and the risk in the proliferation of illicit alcohol and smuggling.
It has reliably been gathered that the alcohol comes second after SACU in terms of generating revenue for the country, with amounts reaching E20 million a month, which is E120 million annually.