Zambian Breweries has condemned the continued over-pricing of its beer by some unscrupulous distributors and traders across several markets in the country.
The country’s largest brewer has noted with concern the exploitative prices in some distribution and retail outlets, and stressed that it does not support such profiteering.
“Whilst we continue to support distributors and all our business partners in the value chain who have equally been impacted by recent bar closures as we emerge from lockdown, we are saddened that some unethical traders are seeking to exploit short-term supply constraints by increasing prices and creating artificial shortages,” said Zambian Breweries Country Director, Jose Moran. “We can confirm that we have not increased the price of our products, and although we recommend a retail price for consumers, we do not enforce price or control market prices.”
“We stand with our consumers and the honest bar owners being squeezed by the abusive practice.”
He said that the company is aware that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is undertaking market investigations and Zambian Breweries has warned distributors and traders of the possible penalties for infringement of competition law and unfair trading.
Mr Moran further stated that, “We are working hard to overcome challenges post the COVID-19 lockdown and increase supply to the market as the festive season is coming closer.”
“The biggest problem was the loss of returnable bottles in trade and difficulty in obtaining replacements from the glass supplier (equally impacted by lockdown in RSA). Recyclable bottles are vital to keeping the supply chain going, and since bars have only partially re-opened beer-lovers are leaving empty bottles at home. That’s why we introduced our ‘Chinja Botolo’ campaign to close this gap.”
“The lockdown also hampered implementation of our annual planned capacity upgrade and we definitely have a gap in servicing demand. The good news is that we are currently working on the upgrade, which will be ready early next year.”
“Significant delays and disruptions in the supply chain of raw materials and finished goods mainly coming from RSA and gaps in the production capability of suppliers have contributed to the situation.”
“However, the current scenario should not be an excuse to take advantage of consumers and we urge the public to report unethical trading to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on its 5678 toll-free hotline.”