Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. Some locally-manufactured basic commodities are running out at retail shops raising fears of a repeat of the 2008 scenario when supermarket shelves were virtually empty.
Some supermarkets are reportedly limiting the number of commodities such as cooking oil per customer to prevent hoarding which would result in an artificial shortage of the product.
On 7 May 2022, President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered banks to suspend lending to corporates and individuals, including the manufacturing sector.
The move is believed to have triggered the current shortages of cooking oil and mealie meal, among other basic commodities.
Speaking in an interview with NewsDay, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) executive director Rosemary Mpofu said they were monitoring the situation. Said Mpofu:
We are in constant engagement with the suppliers of goods to check what could be the cause of those shortages.
We are conducting a survey to come up with a true picture of the situation throughout the country.
It could just be an issue synonymous with some particular shops which could be different from the situation obtaining countrywide.
Our Monday (today) survey outcome will then explain the issues at hand.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Kurai Matsheza said that the failure of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s foreign currency auction system resulted in the industry failing to access US dollars to buy critical raw materials. Said Matsheza:
We import crude oil from Brazil, so we need foreign currency, but the auction has been failing to give manufacturers sufficient US dollars to be able to import.
On the issue of mealie-meal shortage, it has something to do with the fact that the government stopped millers from buying except the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), which created bottlenecks in the supply chain.
It depends on how the government will act. The policies put in place will determine whether the situation gets back to normal or not.