Small business operators in Bulawayo say power cuts have crippled their operations and are experiencing heavy revenue losses despite it being the festive season.
Small-scale businesses that include photocopying and printing, selling of foodstuffs and drinks that need refrigeration, barbershops, and online businesses, among others, told Southern Eye that they were on the verge of collapse due to power cuts.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association spokesperson Michael Ndiweni said constant power cuts would force traders and entrepreneurs that rely on electricity to close.
“Incessant power outages will surely collapse small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the informal economy that uses electricity to run engines to produce. If the power cuts continue these industries will be on their knees,” Ndiweni said.
“While large companies can resort to fuel-driven generators to power their businesses, many small traders are struggling in a country where inflation has soared, eroding incomes and savings.”One of Bulawayo’s small business owners, Stella Fumayi, who used to sell drinks and photocopy for a fee, said business had fallen drastically because of the power cuts.
“Load-shedding has really given us a hard time and is affecting our business. We used to sell ice water and freezits, and we were also doing photocopying and printing but we can no longer do that,” Fumayi said.
Tapiwa Moyo, a barber said: “My customers come during the day for haircut, but most of the time there is no electricity from 6am to 10pm. I will be out of business very soon if this continues.”
A poultry farmer, Ndodana Moyo said: “I had slaughtered 120 broilers and all of them went bad due to power cuts. I can no longer sell them and have suffered a heavy loss. We hope the government will look into this issue, otherwise our businesses will perish.”