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Comesa Market traders protest alcohol shortage

By GIDEON NYENDWA

ALCOHOL traders at Comesa Market in Lusaka have protested the continued shortage of alcohol and have warned that prices of beer are likely to drastically increase.

One of the traders, Richard Mwanza, said alcohol business was no longer lucrative because consumers would resort to illicit alcohol once prices increase.

Mr Mwanza said prices of alcohol were likely to continue increasing with the shortage that had persisted.

“The ever rising prices of alcoholic beverages are as result of the shortages which have increased the demand on the distributors’ side. For us, this has resulted in customers now resorting to illicit beer which is cheaper and affordable. So despite spending all our capital, there is no business,” he said.

Another trader, who preferred not to be named, said distributors had taken advantage of the alcohol shortages and ‘abnormally’ increasing their order prices.

He said distributors always have a lot of clients so could do whatever they wanted with impunity.

“Distributors have a lot of clients, there always queues when you go to order beer so when they increase the price, it’s take it or leave,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zambian Breweries explained that the current shortage of clear beer in Lusaka was triggered by the shutdown of production owing to the installation of new equipment at the plant.

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

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

Mr Sekele explained that the plant in Ndola was also recently shut down for the capacity expansion programme.

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