Zambian Breweries (ZB) has disclosed that the country is experiencing a shortage of alcoholic beverages on the market at the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZB Director of Corporate Affairs Ezekiel Sekele said this is as a result of some alcoholic beverages that come into the country from South Africa not being imported due to the closing of borders during the pandemic.
Mr. Sekele further said that some finished products and raw materials are beginning to come into the country but not to the extent that the company would like and this is because South Africa has to fill up its market place and attend to its challenges before fully concentrating on exporting.
Mr Sekele assured the public and retailers that the company is doing its best to meet the required production levels and ensure there is stability in the market, with gaps being filled.
We are producing more than we were producing in the previous months and we are working 24/7. We are producing at full capacity,he said.
Because of the supply chain disruption experienced in the last six months and with the percentage of imports not coming in, instead of people getting the different choices of local and imported products available, they are only getting Mosi, Castle, Eagle so the demand on the ZB locally-produced products has increased.
Mr. Sekele further said another challenge is that Zambia does not produce glass and the company had to put in procurement plans for the whole year.
He explained that some of the suppliers from the countries where glass is imported from were not operating. Therefore, the company could not import enough glass.
We have been engaging government to have Kapiri Glass Product to start operating. If there can be an investor who can invest in this company and produce the necessary equipment that will allow us to tap into the market, we will create a market for glass and stop importing,he said.
This follows reports by sections of the media that the country is experiencing a critical shortage of beer.
Meanwhile, the director also noted that when there are issues of supply and demand variances in businesses, some retailers engage in unfair business practices such as increasing prices.
He warned that he would report all retailers scaling up beer prices to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
Mr. Sekele said ZB sells at the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) and can only recommend prices to resellers.
He added that if the retailers decide to increase prices, they should be able to pay the increment tax to Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), something most of them fail to do.