THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has released US$1 million to Delta Beverages to avert potential beer and soft drinks shortages due to foreign currency challenges for imports.
RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya confirmed that foreign currency was availed to help Delta Beverages import key ingredients.
“We are assisting Delta with their forex requirements so that they meet the increased demand for beverages and beer in the country,” he said.
“We allocated US$1 million this week to Delta and we are putting in place an LC (Letter of Credit) to help them buy concentrates from Swaziland.
“The LCs are being drawn from Afreximbank’s US$150 million facility which is meant for strategic imports like fuel, industrial raw materials and pharmaceuticals.
“Delta is a strategic firm that belongs to the category of strategic firms that we prioritise.”
Delta Company secretary Mr Alex Makamure said, “What I know is that we were given US$250 000 and the other allocation is coming.
“We had reached our credit limit with suppliers. It’s difficult for big companies which require a lot of raw materials. The issue is our foreign currency is managed at a national level and there could be delays here and there.
Delta Beverages has recorded an increase in demand for beer and soft drinks.
As of January 2018, lager and sorghum beers recorded a spike in demand with the volume growing by 36 percent above prior year while the volume for sparkling beverages increased by 14 percent compared to last year.
The increase in beer demand comes at a time when the Government is crafting a national alcohol policy which seeks to regulate alcohol consumption.
The policy is a brainchild of the late former Health Minister Dr Timothy Stamps.
He argued that the policy was the right pathway in maintaining good health and fight alcohol abuse.
In 2007, the then RBZ governor, Dr Gideon Gono, increased beer prices by 100 percent, saying Zimbabwe had been reduced to a country of drunkards due to cheap booze.