The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of the country’s leading cooking oil and soap manufacturers, United Refineries Limited (URL) will resume cooking oil exports to Namibia soon as it forges ahead to grow its foreign currency coffers.
URL chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo confirmed that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has issued the company with an export permit to export its Roil cooking oil brand to Namibia.
“We have now been given the permits we require to export to Namibia. There had been a ban of exports of cooking oil up to last month. We also have orders for Botswana and Malawi but we are awaiting permits for the same from the relevant ministries,” he said.
The company was forced to halt exports around the year 2000 due to a myriad of challenges, including a downturn of the economy due to illegal economic sanctions.
However, URL recently admitted to inadequate stocks of cooking oil and laundry soap citing limited access to key raw materials due to shortage of foreign currency.
To effectively respond to the shortage in the market, the company requires up to $3 million in foreign currency.
URL, which has sustained its operations for the past 18 years through processing cooking oil and laundry bar soap, has over the past few years re-introduced and launched a number of products.
“Both the fortified mealie-meal and vegetable extract juices are performing satisfactorily and are listed with major retailers. We look forward to growing awareness for these products in the New Year,” said Mr Moyo.
The company also launched its new mayonnaise line under Roil Mayonnaise brand and an olive oil brand, where olive varieties are grown in the Eastern Cape.
Three years ago the Bulawayo-based company re-introduced its three range of soaps namely Image, Vogue and Fresh Health Joy whose packaging was inscribed in English as well as Portuguese specifically aimed to target Portuguese speaking nations.