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‘Leather industry not spared by Covid-19’

BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

ZAMLEATHER says the negative socio-economic impact of Covid-19 has not spared the leather industry in Zambia.

“Our industry is feeling the pinch of this pandemic. It has disrupted the way we do business; our supply-demand curve; and ultimately, our sales,” Zamleather general manager Richard Franklin said in a statement.

Mr Franklin said the leather and shoe business heavily relied on movement of people, but Covid-19 had confined people indoors.

“Our industry is generally supported by people moving from point A to B. The more people move, the higher the need for new shoes. However, the virus has confined people to their homes, for quite some time, before the new normal. This, in turn, affects sales due to low demand,” he explained.

Mr Franklin cited Kaleza, a football boot produced by Zamleather, as one of the footwears that had been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, while the suspension of school classes had impacted sales of its famous Zamshu school shoes.

“We significantly reduced production, or supply, of the famous boot for champions – Kaleza boot – on the market after we noticed a reduction in demand for the boot. This followed the closure of the football season by Government in March this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Mr Franklin was, however, optimistic that the company would increase production of the boot for champions as the football season in Zambia was expected to resume this month under the new normal.

“As football starts this July under the new normal, we believe demand for our boot will increase. We are also equal to the task of meeting the market demand. Therefore, all clubs must wear Kaleza and support the growth of the local shoe industry,” he emphasised.

Mr Franklin noted that the Zambeef tannery and shoe division managed to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic by adhering to preventive measures set by Government and heath institutions such as the World health Organisation (WHO). “We are living in the new normal at our factory. All our staff are masked up, they wash hands frequently, and when you visit our factory, you will surely have your hands sanitised right at the entrance as well as your temperature taken. We have taken the fight against this disease very seriously” he said.

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