Bulawayo – United Refineries Limited (URL) manufacturers of Roil cooking oil, has accused retailers of creating an artificial shortage by hoarding the product.
The company has threatened to blacklist retailers who are engaging in such practice.
URL Chief Executive Officer Busisa Moyo alleged that some retailers were withholding or bundling the product at till points. Moyo took to twitter and registered his disgruntlement this week.
However, his claims were rubbished by Confederation of Retailers of Zimbabwe (CZIR) president Denford Mutashu who said Moyo’s product has not been visible on the market for a long time.
“If there are those that are hoarding, it’s unfortunate and the law will descend on them .
“But I think it would be prudent also for him (Moyo) to share the specific names of the retailers they gave products then failed to dispose of the products to the consumers, otherwise it remains just a tweet, we cannot be tweeting cooking oil onto the market,” said Mutashu.
“What we want is to see the product itself on the market and if we compare and share those notes, I think that would be great for us.
“It is also something that is worrisome, unfortunately their brand has not been visible on the market for a long time and the brand that has been quite visible throughout is the ZimGold brand.
“If those threats are accompanied by naming and shaming it will be acceptable.There is need for the names of those that got the cooking oil and did not take it to the people of Zimbabwe so that at least everyone will actually believe that this is something that transpired,” Mutashu said.
He urged manufactures to use foreign currency allocated to them for the intended purposes.
“The challenge that we have had with oil processors is that there is no openness in terms of their distribution. Sometimes we do not even know who gets and who does not.
“There are certain areas that have not received that brand for a long time so we would also want the manufactures to own the situation of them receiving foreign currency and directing it to the intended purposes because we understand that at some stage some were using the foreign currency they got from the RBZ to settle some other debts that they were owing,” Mutashu alleged.
Moyo hit back at Mutashu and said he dealt with a more experienced retailers’ body.
“Mr Mutashu is the president of the recently incorporated Confederation of Retailers of Zimbabwe (CZIR). In that regard, 90% of our products go through Retailers Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) members which is led by Themba Ndebele of Truworths and has been around for over 20 years,” Moyo said.
Moyo said his company was no under obligation to disclose the names of his customers and quantities supplied.
“We delivered 300mt in Bulawayo last week and some product was sent to Harare. We are under no obligation to disclose what our customers are getting as we are a private business and we also protect our partners.
“That comment was directly attributable to Bulawayo players. 60-70% of our product goes to Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Zvishavane, Hwange, Chipinge, Chiredzi and Victoria Falls,” Moyo said.
There has been a shortage of cooking oil in the country triggering a price hike although manufacturers insist that they supply adequate product to the market.