ONGWEDIVA – Business personalities in the north want government to ease Covid-19 restrictions to allow their businesses to recover from the economic hardships they have endured since the introduction of the state of emergency in March this year.
They fear that should the restriction of operating hours persist, some businesses such as restaurants and alcohol-serving facilities could die a natural death.
Former chairman of the Ongwediva arm of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Veikko Haimbodi said many people, particularly the youth, have been laid off from their jobs, depriving them and their families of an income.
“These restrictions have brought our people nothing but poverty. It doesn’t just affect the owners of the businesses; it affects their employees and their families,” said Haimbodi.
Haimbodi said the current operating hours do not serve any purpose; the working people, whom he classifies as the people with the buying power, are at work during the operating hours.
“When these businesses open, they are at work – and when they knock-off, we are just about to close; hence, we are as good as someone who is already out of business.
If the status quo prevails, some businesses will never reopen,” said Haimbodi.
Apart from the job losses, he said many business personalities have incurred debts, as they cannot afford to honour their financial obligations with the financial institutions.
Selma Amalovu of Ndombolo Fashion said if there is restriction to functions, particularly weddings, there will be nothing left by the time a vaccine is found.
Narrating her ordeal, Amalovu said she only had one customer since last week, who required services of the value of only N$40.
“The wedding season is gone, yet we were still not able to make money. We are waiting for November and December weddings, and we can only hope that the restrictions will be eased then,” said Amalovu.