THE government has allocated $8 million to two of the country’s top cooking oil producers to enable them to procure raw materials in a bid to avert a shortage of the basic commodity on the market, Standardbusiness can report.
By Taurai Mangudhla
Following reports of a recurrent shortage of basic commodities such as cooking oil, laundry soap and sugar on the market, government, through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) provided $8 million for the two companies to ensure raw materials are timeously procured to meet growing market demand. The shortages have prompted some retail outlets to start rationing the products — limiting the quantities that customers can buy.
“I can tell you that two companies are sharing the $8 million and they got the cash last week. One of the two companies is Surface Investments [in Chitungwiza] which produces Pure Drop [cooking oil],” said a highly-placed source at the central bank who requested anonymity. He could not confirm the second beneficiary at the time of going to print.
According to the source, the facility was made available to address what he called an artificial shortage created by panic buying triggered by the prevailing cash crisis.
“This shortage is artificial because people are just stocking basics because the media and other people tell them so. We have made available this money to meet the artificial high demand and I can assure you things will be normal once people realise they are being misled,” the source said.
Zimbabwe has four oil producing firms; ETG Parrogate, Surface Investments, Olivine and United Refineries.