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COVID-19: Cassava Smartech volumes drop 40pc

Listed Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe Limited’s trade volumes dropped by 40 percent during the initial COVID-19-induced 21-day lockdown period, a development the diversified digital services group has attributed to the closure of businesses and scaled down operations.

COVID-19, which has infected and claimed many lives across the globe has also disrupted business operations, in some instances driving companies into losses.

Zimbabwe which entered into lockdown on March 30, with conditions having been reviewed more than twice remains under indefinite Level Two lockdown.

In a special COVID-19 trading update, Cassava Smartech company secretary, Charmaine Rose Daniels, said COVID-19 negatively impacted their operations despite the company having been allowed to remain operational as an essential services provider.

“However, the lockdown severely affected our business partners across all industry sectors with the majority of industry having shut down during the initial lockdown period,” said Daniels.

“The remaining businesses which were classified as essential services operated for reduced hours in compliance with the lockdown regulations. This had an impact on our business which is largely reliant on our partners.

“To the extent that the partners were closed, our volumes and values were affected accordingly resulting in volumes decreasing by an average of 40 percent across the Group during the lockdown period, subsequently recovering as the lockdown rules eased.”

Daniels said in response to the pressures which the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the business, various cost cutting initiatives have been introduced in order to reduce the effect on profitability margins.

“We continue to leverage on the use of digital technology and our online business models to offer services and remote access to products and services during the lockdown period,” Daniels explained.

“Being digital, our business, can and does operate independently of people’s physical location and/or movement and this resulted in continued availability of all our services during the lockdown albeit at a reduced level.We will continue to monitor our supply chain in light of the impact of the pandemic and formulate contingency sourcing plans accordingly.”

The company secretary said they have continued to persevere despite the challenges, identifying and exploiting opportunities in the environment.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust on us new and unusual challenges which require us to refine the way we work,” said Daniels.

“We will continue to align our business model to this changing trend.”

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