ZAMBIAN BREWERIES BACKS CALLS TO TACKLE BEER SUPPLY BOTTLENECKS
Zambian Breweries has put its weight behind calls from the Bar and Night Club Owners’ Association of Zambia (BNCOAZ) to address supply bottlenecks in the clear beer market.
The brewing giant is working on a US$80 million investment in a new plant and equipment that will double production capacity at its Lusaka plant from 2024 onwards, helping to address the imbalance between supply and demand.
In the short term, the company is also backing calls from the BNCOAZ for a crackdown on a handful of unscrupulous traders who have taken advantage of the situation to manipulate supply and prices.
Zambian Breweries Country Director Michelle Kilpin urged the public to report any instances of price or supply manipulation to the Zambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), who are mandated to investigate.
The recent shortages experienced by some distributors, trade outlets and customers are the result of a combination of factors, including a growing population and economy in recent years that has increased demand for beer at a greater rate than supply.
While Zambian Breweries’ Lusaka and Ndola plants’ current capacity is partly a factor, the situation has been worsened by the unfortunate action of some dealers who are taking advantage to artificially manipulate supply and prices.
However, the second factor of market distortion is beyond the control of Zambian Breweries as the company is rightly forbidden by competition law from intervening in the market pricing of its products.
Zambian Breweries delivers its beer through in-house and out-sourced transporters to distributors, who take ownership of the beer, at which point Zambian Breweries has no further role in the supply chain, explained Ms Kilpin
“We wish to assure customers that the team at Zambian Breweries is working hard to increase beer capacity. In the meantime, I call upon all those in the trade to consider the interests of customers and maintain fair dealing to ensure the integrity of the sector,” said Ms Kilpin.