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.