Deep economic impacts for workers and business due to Covid-19

January 22, 2021

HURFOM: The first Covid-19 patient in Myanmar was discovered on March 23, 2020.

Because of public health measures, such as ‘Stay at home orders’, a ban on public/social gatherings and physical distance rules, all intended to contain the spread of the virus, many businesses and factories have shut down. The economic impacts are significant.

“My rubber factory has about 40 laborers. They went back to their native places and now it is difficult for them to come back due to travel restrictions. I’m in trouble as I have a shortage of laborers,” said Nai Thein, a rubber factory owner from Thanbyuzayat.

Although the government has eased some restrictions allowing  some businesses to re-open the still face struggles to reestablish their labour force.  Businesses have to  invest more money to find and support laborers.

“When they get  here,(the laborers) have to stay under quarantine. I have to give money for their needs  during the time of the quarantine. I have to spend a lot to get them from Yangon to here (Thanbyuzayat). It’s very difficult to find laborers. We have to take care of everything. It has cost a big fortune. If I don’t do so, I can’t have laborers,” said Nai Balai, another rubber factory owner from Thanbyuzayat.

Similarly, salt farm owners have experienced the same problem. Salt farms rely on many migrant workers, and now it is difficult to operate as they can not get laborers due to travel restrictions.

“It’s the time to work hard on salt farms. This is when we have the  biggest need for labor. But we can’t get  workers due to Covid-19. We have a few laborers, but tons of work. So we’re in trouble,” said Nai Hoke, a salt farm owner from Thanbyuzayat.

Mon State industries rely on migrant workers in the fishing industry, rubber factories and salt farms.

According to the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, nearly 250,000 of laborers in Burma have lost their jobs due to Covid-19.

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