ZITF bemoans COVID-19 losses

by Editorial Team
2 minutes read

The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Company Acting General Manager, Dr Nicholas Ndebele has lamented the losses which were incurred by his company and others in the business events industry due to the COVID-19 containment measures taken by Government early this year.

Speaking to The Chronicle newspaper last week, Dr Ndebele described the 2020 business events season as “a year like no other.”

Dr Ndebele highlighted that the measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic such as the restriction of gatherings to 50 people and the local and international travel restrictions negatively affected his company’s operations and bottom line.

“The company was hit extremely hard in terms of cash flows and this negatively impacted on seasonal labour engagement and as such affected staff morale. The industry is estimated to have lost more than US$1 billion. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this around the world,” said Dr Ndebele.

The ZITF Company’s main event, the ZITF was set to be held from 21 to 25 April this year but was affected by the lockdown and other measures which kicked off at the end of March. The event was postponed in the hope that it would be held sometime during the year but the pandemic persisted. Despite some form of lockdown relaxation towards the end of the year, the event and others could not be held forcing the company to consider rolling over the payments for the event to next year.

 “While we still stand guided by our principal, the Government of Zimbabwe, we want to point out that the event has not been cancelled but postponed. We realise that it is no longer possible to host the event this year given the time left and the prevailing situation as a result of the pandemic.

“We realise that refunding them a portion of what they paid for the 2020 edition will no longer be viable and/or advisable due to the lapse of time and the peculiar circumstances we both find ourselves in,” Dr Ndebele said.

Some of the ZITF Company’s events which were also affected by COVID-19 include the Mining, Engineering and Transport exhibition (MineEntra), whose slot is July annually, and the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Energy (WASHen), which is usually held in September. The company had to hold the two events virtually.

Meanwhile, the ZITF is set to be held from 20 to 24 April 2021 with 20 to 22 being business days and the remainder being public days.

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