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BEER SHORTAGE HITS LUSAKA

By BUUMBA CHIMBULU


THE current shortage of clear beer in Lusaka has been triggered by the shutdown of production owing to the installation of new equipment at Zambian Breweries.

Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director, Ezekiel Sekele, said the installation of new equipment would take the next 10 days.

He said normal supply would resume next week before another shut down for a similar exercise next month.

Mr Sekele explained in an interview yesterday that the plant in Ndola was also recently shut down for 10 days for the capacity expansion programme.

He said the capacity expansion programme was delayed by a year due to Covid-19 as the company was unable to bring in engineers to install the new equipment imported from China.

The exercise, he said, was supposed to be done in April last year.

Mr Sekele however stressed that the shortage was temporal and that stable and normal supply was expected starting July going into September as the company would equate demand to supply.

“In Lusaka, as I am speaking to you now, for the next 10 days starting from today until mid-early next week, our plant is undergoing shut down. This is a period in which we are going to connect the new equipment as part of the whole production and supply network within the plant.

“This takes times, so it will take about 10 days and there will be another shut down in June next month for the same period. This is because we have invested into production capacity, we have put in US$20 million into production capacity and this investment is one year behind,” Mr Sekele said.

Mr Sekele said the industry has been growing year in, year out forcing the company to significantly invest in its production capacity.

To catch up with demand, he said, the company had been investing significantly in the production capacity over the last 10 years.

“In terms of shortages of clear beer in the market, we agree there is a challenge of supply of clear beer stock currently. So during this time, two things will happen, yes shortages will be there but we have produced adequate stock to be able to go into the market,” Mr Sekele said.

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