HARARE - Cooking oil manufactures on Wednesday said there was no enough foreign currency to import raw materials needed to produce the commodity, hence the current shortages of the product on the market.
In a statement, Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) was giving its members foreign currency equivalent to 30 percent of their monthly requirement of $20 million.
“OEAZ members require at least $5 million per week (US$20 million per month) to import soya beans, crude edible oils and other raw materials to satisfy the national demand for oil and related products adequately.
“For the last 28 weeks ending 31 July 2017, OEAZ members have received $61 million, which is $2,2 million per week (US$8,8 million per month) which is 44 percent of what the sector requires to satisfy national demand,” it said.
The association added: “In the last two months, foreign currency allocations have been further constrained to less than $1.5 million per week (i.e. 30 percent of the sector’s actual forex requirements); this is possibly linked to reduced tobacco sales inflows etc.”
OEAZ said oil producers can no longer access lines of credit from their foreign suppliers.
“The above foreign currency allocation levels mean that OEAZ members credit lines for raw materials have now reached maximum levels and members can no longer access raw materials on credit from their foreign suppliers as they normally do,” it said.
The association urged RBZ to increase foreign currency allocations.
“It should be noted that the shortages in certain outlets in urban centres can be averted by immediately increasing the amount allocated as foreign currency or the extending of RBZ supported letters of credit to OEAZ members to allow for the importation of adequate raw materials and other inputs,” it said.
Surface Wilmer, a cooking oil manufacturer however assured consumers that the commodity would remain available.
“Cooking oil has been classified by the RBZ as a basic commodity and therefore receives priority on forex allocations. This should assure our customers and consumers on the continued availability of our products on the shelves.
“The current panic buying and hoarding only serves to distort the perceived availability, but we are assured that this is only a short- term phenomenon,” it said. - New Ziana