Zimbabwe’s biggest beverages manufacturer Delta Corporation, says it has witnessed a marked improvement in the accessibility of foreign currency on the interbank market and is now “pleased to offer” some of its products that had been in limited supply recently.
Just a month ago, the beverages giant had issued a statement saying it was “concerned about the company’s ability to access foreign currency in order to meet its external obligations”.
It also said it had to close its sparkling beverages business for the three months to March 2019 due to non-availability of imported raw materials resulting from limited access to foreign currency. As a result, its volumes declined by 89 percent compared to prior year for that particular period.
Yesterday, however, operations director Mr Max Karombo, in a statement to customers, was singing a positive tune.
Said Mr Karombo: “Following the improvement of foreign currency availability on the interbank market for ongoing operations, we are pleased to offer all our returnable glass packs in RTGS$ with immediate effect. This policy position applies to both beer and soft drinks.”
Mr Karombo urged Delta’s wholesale and retail partners to align prices to suggested price schedule that “our salesforce constantly communicates.”
Commenting on the developments, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu, said it would be more pleasing if the availability of foreign currency on the interbank market can extend to manufacturers of other basic goods and services such as cooking oil.
He said the improved accessibility of forex would be pleasing if it can lead to “price stabilisation and increased product supply”.
“We wish the improvement (of forex availability) to also touch on the manufacturers of basic goods and services.
“The market must efficiently allocate to manufacturers of basic products. If you look at the supply of edible oils, it’s very limited and shelf space is occupied by very expensive oils. We wish that space to be taken up by basic brands,” Mr Mutashu said.
He said an efficiently operating interbank market is key to the stability of prices in the economy and must lead to improved product supplies.
Delta’s testimony on the noted improvement in forex accessibility on the formal interbank market should come as a welcome development to a market that has been starved of foreign currency for long.
Government has also been working flat out to make sure the interbank market becomes a go-to market for foreign currency by business.
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