By McDonald Chapalapata, contributor:
Castel Malawi has disclosed that it has an $18 million (approximately K18 billion) outstanding bill due to forex scarcity.
The brewer says the forex woes, if not addressed, will see production of its flagship brand, Carlsberg Green, being suspended.
Already, the company suspended production of its spirits lines of Malawi Gin, Premier Brandy, and Malawi Vodka due to acute shortage of raw materials which are imported.
Speaking in Lilongwe last week when he was introduced to government officials including members of Parliament, Castel Malawi Thomas Reynaud said acute shortage of forex has seriously impacted the company’s operations.
“The company has total unsettled outstanding bills of $18 million and we require $14 million immediately to ease the pressure with our suppliers to release new materials and, in order for us to sustain the business, we require at least $2 million per month,” Reynaud said.
Reynaud also said the firm has invested more than K80 billion in the past five years to improve machine capacity and product quality.
Chairperson for the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Gladys Ganda pledged her committee’s support in lobbying the government to allocate the forex that the company requires.
“We cannot allow this company to shut down considering that it is employing a lot of Malawians and is contributing to our economy through tax revenue. We pledge our support,” Ganda said.
Castel Malawi has been operating in the country since 2016 after buying majority shareholding in Carlsberg Denmark.
Castel Malawi directly employs 625 people and almost 300 temporary contract employees through brokers.
Castel Malawi also provides about 100 000 indirect employment through distributors, suppliers, bars and groceries.