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Ohorongo positive despite depressed building industry

Published on: 5 September 2017
Ohorongo Cement
Ohorongo Cement

FOLLOWING mass retrenchments and severe recession in the construction industry, local cement maker Ohorongo said they will try to survive the recession with zero retrenchments.

In an interview with The Namibian in Windhoek on Friday, Ohorongo cement managing director Hans-Wilhelm Schütte said although there is a direct relationship between the construction and cement industries, the cement industry is slightly different.

Ohorongo, which produces cement for the construction industry, said if the construction sector is under pressure, they also feel the pressure, although there are differences in the business models and survival strategies during recession.

In May, the Construction Industries Federation (CIF) of Namibia said 63% of businesses have either closed down, are dormant, or have scaled down operations drastically.

“Between 1 September 2016 and 31 March 2017, a minimum of 30% of the workforce was retrenched,” the federation said in a statement. The CIF at the time said the situation was likely to get worse.

Schütte said Ohorongo does not plan any kind of retrenchments and they value their employees.

The company employs 300 people, more than 98% of whom are Namibians.

He added that although things are also tough for them as profits, cash flow and turnover dropped, as long as it is possible for Ohorongo to keep their employees, they will not retrench.

“Our employees are very important to us,” he said.

He noted that on top of the 300 employees directly employed by the company, about 2 000 people are employed indirectly through security companies, transport providers, subcontractors and the running of a canteen, among others.

“As long as there is fair competition, we can achieve our strategic goals to survive, keep our employees and continue contributing to the Namibian economy,” said Schütte.

He added that for them, it is important that even through tough times, they continue to do what they do in the interest of Namibia.

“That is why we opened the Ondangwa depot,” he said. Last week, Ohorongo Cement, in partnership with TransNamib, opened the depot for the distribution of cement in the northern regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Omusati and Oshikoto.

 He said the company signed an agreement with the developer to put up a 5MW solar power plant at an investment of N$100 million.

The company further said despite the recession, it continues to support the Shack Dwellers Federation as “we believe we must still contribute to the economy, even with the reduction in sales and cash flow.”

Source: https://www.namibian.com.na/58755/read/Ohorongo-positive-despite-depressed-building-industry

Categories: Media Releases

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