By Chikondi Malola
Lilongwe, August 25, Mana: While everyone wishes COVID-19 had vanished from existence due to hundreds of casualties it has caused, vendors have found an entrepreneurial opportunity in the selling of face masks, the protective material that controls spread of the deadly virus.
Moving around in the capital city Lilongwe and other urban areas, streets are occupied with vendors plying their mask-selling business, an activity that has been prompted by the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.
In random interviews Malawi News Agency conducted in Lilongwe, one of the vendors in Area 3 Market, Louis Botha, said the coming of Corona Virus has created an employment opportunity.
Botha said apart from his usual business of selling airtime, he has boosted the business by engaging in the selling of masks.
“Since I ventured into this mask business, my life has not been the same, it has tremendously changed because I am now able to raise some profit and buy basic needs for my family,” he said.
Besides that mask-selling has become another source of his income, Botha said he was also contributing to the fight against COVID -19 by making the face masks more accessible to individuals.
“I encourage people that are idle to indulge in this business to support their living,” he said.
Botha further told this reporter that he orders the masks at K3, 500 per a box of fifty pieces and makes a profit of K2, 500 after total sales of K6, 000.
Annie Banda, another vendor, said the mask-selling business is assisting her, as a single mother of two, to support her children’s education.
“I order a box of masks of fifty pieces at K2, 500 and sell at K200 each piece, which gives me the total sale of K10, 000 and a win of K7, 500.
“Before I started this business, I was not able to support my children, especially to provide for their education. But now I am managing to buy the school needs,” she said.
Executive Director of Malawi Health Equity Network, George Jobe, warned the market committees to must the ‘No Mask No Entry’ sign post and ensure that those who enter the markets comply.
“Masks are vey important to be worn all the time not only in market places, but in all public places as well.
“We have been advising government to empower market committees to take charge in sensitising entrepreneurs in their markets and enforce compliance to COVID-19 preventative regulations, including wearing of masks,” Jobe said.
Such enforcements of COVID-19 preventive measures such as the wearing of masks assure vendors that sell masks, of a ready and steady market for their COVID-19 protective material merchandise.