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Struggling economy forces Trustco to downsize

2021-10-18  Edgar Brandt

Struggling economy forces Trustco to downsize
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Depressed domestic and global economic activity, exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19, continues to take its toll on local businesses as the Truscto Group confirmed the completion of a recent retrenchment exercise. Trustco, a triple-listed financial services group investing in high-growth assets in emerging markets, operates from three business segments, namely insurance, resources as well as banking and finance. 

According to a statement from Trustco spokesperson Neville Basson, the retrenchment process was embarked upon after a careful review of relevant factors and with extensive engagement with the staff affected by the decision. 

“The decision to retrench was obviously not taken lightly. But in the context of a Namibian economy still struggling from the extended impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated subdued business confidence, it was determined to be a necessity to streamline operations and staff in order to enable to group to effectively operate under these prevailing conditions. As a listed entity, Trustco has a duty to all its stakeholders to ensure it remains able to operate responsibly and on a sustainable basis for the benefit of all,” Basson stated. 

New Era understands Trustco’s downsizing also involves closing a number of branches across the country. However, these branch closures as well as the exact number of employees affected by the retrenchment exercise were not confirmed at the time of going to press. Statistics from the labour ministry depict a harrowing trend as more than 1 000 workers lost their jobs at 190 companies only during the first six months of 2021. The retrenchments between 01 January and 30 June 2021 occurred mostly in the Khomas, Erongo and Hardap regions.

Meanwhile, labour ministry officials note that only about 70 workers were retrenched due to Covid-19, while the majority of job losses were attributed to other economic factors, including business closures or discontinuation. 

Moreover, from January 2020 to 30 June 2021, a total of 13 682 Namibian employees were retrenched. 

Also for 2020, some 4000 workers in the accommodation and food services industry were retrenched, while the retail and wholesale sector as well as the mining sector retrenched a combined 2 598 workers last year.  According to the Economic Policy Research Association, half of over 220 businesses in Namibia indicated they had to downsize since the beginning of 2020.

2021-10-18  Edgar Brandt

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