The government has ordered Lingadzi Estate owners in Lilongwe to pay workers a delayed salary of three months or risk closure.
During a visit to the estate, Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule, gave the estate 5 days to pay the salary. “These workers have day-to-day needs and going for three months without being paid is uncalled for.” said the Minister, “If the employers do not have the financial muscle to sustain this estate then they should close it.”
Last month, another tobacco farming corporation, Kanengo Tobacco Processors Limited (KTPL), announced the closure of its tobacco processing facility at Kanengo in Lilongwe. According to the statement released on 24 March, the factory has been “undergoing difficult financial times due to a number of factors within and outside Malawi”. The factors are, (including but not limited to) the reduction in national crop size, reduced international demand for Malawi air-cured burley, high competition of tobacco processing in Malawi due to high installed capacity and certain International sanctions on Malawian tobacco.
Meanwhile, Lingadzi Estate farm manager Ayub Mwedadi attributed the delay in paying workers on time to Covid-19, saying the pandemic has slowed down income generating activities at the estate. The estate has 180 employees, of whom 18 are on permanent contract.