Retailers mull cooking oil imports

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THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) has urged cooking oil processors to up their game and produce more cooking oil that meets demand, lest retailers approach government for import permits to fill the gap.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

CZR chairperson, Denford Mutashu, told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that cooking oil shortage was now glaring in Zimbabwe and processors should up their game.

“Right now there is a shortage of cooking oil and it’s glaring. We continue urging processors to step up their game because we might end up asking government to give us import permits to fill the gap. Our members have been knocking at our doors asking us to do something,” Mutashu said.

Mutashu said the situation was even worse in rural areas and “people there have resorted to use peanut butter, but you cannot put peanut butter in chicken”.

Retailers Association of Bulawayo secretary-general, Simba Phiri, said the situation was exacerbated by the panic buying that happened recently.

Phiri blamed politicians and cash barons for the situation.

A survey conducted by NewsDay in Bulawayo last week showed that most big supermarkets in the city had no cooking oil stocks on their shelves. The situation is the same in Harare where the precious liquid has disappeared from the shelves, but is found on the parallel market.

A survey by NewsDay established that 2 litres of cooking oil was selling at between $4 and $5 depending on the quality.

The country is battling a foreign currency shortage, which is adversely impacting on several sectors of the economy, particularly producers that rely on imported raw materials and fuel dealers.

Last month, Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) revealed that they could no longer access raw materials on credit from their foreign suppliers, following a reduction of foreign currency allocations to less than $1,5 million per week.

The members require at least $5m per week to import soya beans, crude edible oils and other raw materials to satisfy the national demand for oil and related products.

For the 28 weeks ended July 31, 2017, OEAZ said they received $61m, which is $2,2m per week ($8,8m per month) which is 44% of what the sector requires to satisfy national demand.

In the last two months, OEAZ said foreign currency allocations have been further constrained to less than $1,5m per week (that is 30% of the sector’s actual foreign currency allocation requirement).

Efforts to get a comment from Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe president Busisa Moyo on the latest developments were fruitless.

1 COMMENT

  1. You can honestly not rely on Zimbabwe manufacturers and people like (Dr?) Mike Bimha, (Dr?) Mangundya, etc. If they did, then they read their economics books upside down, back to front.

    Zimbabwean suppliers are crooked and will use people like Bimha to block imports so they can increase prices. Common sense says shortage equals price increase. Zimbabwean manufacturers never properly increase their supply volumes. They only increase price (and reduce weight in case of bakers) while Rosemary Siyachitema either sleeps or pretends to, or is perpetually making something she calls a basket for a family of a certain digit.

    Haven’t you noticed they make 750 ml of cooking oil and sell it at the price of 1 litre and nobody ever questions them?

    Zim does not have the capacity to produce enough cooking oil let alone improving production to lower prices.

    From the eighties, inflation was mostly falsely blamed on shortage of foreign currency and in the Gono era, forex was unaffordable. The GNU seeing the plight of the people, put away Gono governorship era laws and made the economy a multicurrency economy, meaning nobody would be arrested for money they didn’t steal. Coupled with opening import doors to force back local manufacturers’ crooked low supply induced high prices, prices went down to normal. Everything stabilised, people ate well, bought cars and built houses.

    Come (Drs?) Mangundya and Bimha! They forced supply down so that the crooked local manufacturers could increase price without improving anything. Shortage and high prices were blamed on ghosts called “individuals”, “speculators”, and on a criminalised buying act called “hoarding” etc If I were a manufacturer, and if “individuals”, “speculators”, “hoarders” etc abruptly wiped my cooking oil away from shop shelves, I would pay my employees overtime to quickly replace the oil and smile at increased sales. You don’t cry “hoarding” if it is sales you are in business fore. Produce more for them to hoard until they can’t hoard no more.

    Cde Mangundya saw it fit to return the forex shortage induced inflation against the people’s cries against the backward move.

    All was well until Mangundya went on a crusade about introducing bond notes which he pledged will be at par in rate to the USD, glued by his word of mouth. This meant you could be arrested for changing money you didn’t steal. From then, forex vanished from circulation. He even gave recipients of forex from abroad bond note reward to encourage forex to come in and disappear.

    And for their crookedness, local manufacturers are only being “engaged”, a very rare term in Economics.

    We have too few manufacturers. We need more new, larger and efficient manufacturers who strive to supply more at lower prices. It would be better to let the likes of Shoprite, Ackermans, Checkers etc. Too few large supermarkets are a price disaster. They all increase prices regularly by a few cents at a time. Most of their price increases are not a result cost, but a response to high sales.

    Summed up, the solution is competition. Forex externalisation is inevitable, like diffusion. Just check the conditions driving money out. Look at where it is going and check the conditions attracting the money. The problems are solvable at law/policy level. If you make it illegal to own a cow, the result is a shortage and high prices of beef and milk. Rather, just make it illegal to steal a cow, and praiseworthy to build a herd.

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