A snap survey by Times Business has revealed that most mega grocery shops in the country’s cities have run out of locally made cooking oil.
A visit to Shoprite, Sana Cash and Carry and Chipiku stores across the cities, revealed that some cooking oil shelves have been entirely deserted while others are stocking a few imported products.
Division Buyer for Shoprite Malawi Richard Mankomba said the problem is on the producers who have not been able to meet their order.
“According to the information the producers are giving us, they have been having problems to bring in raw materials. As of yesterday, I got an update [from one of the suppliers], they said they are busy crashing and from next week Wednesday they may start supplying to us.
“This has really affected our business because cooking oil is an essential product that people use on a daily basis. We have had complaints from our customers but our hands are tied and we are just waiting for our suppliers to come through for us,” Mankomba said.
Northgate Arcade Sana Cash and Cary Supervisor Bright Pendani said their cooking oil shelves have been dry for over three weeks.
“We are just waiting for the supplying companies to give us their products for sale. They are better placed to explain the situation as to why they have not been able to supply,” Pendani said.
President of the Oil Processors Association of Malawi Peter Ngoma feigned ignorance on the development, claiming companies were supplying products as usual.
“From manufacturer’s point of view, we are still supplying in fact, we are discussing with the Ministry (of Trade) for further reduction of cooking oil prices Ngoma said.
Two week ago, the Ministry of Trade issued a statement warning traders and producers that they risk facing the long arm of the law if they did not reduce prices of the cooking oil in accordance to removal of 16.5 percent Value Added Tax from April 1.
Recently, there has been an increases in cooking oil prices, with the two litre bottle hitting up to K7000 from about K4,500.
Cooking oil companies have been reluctant to slash prices of the commodity following the removal of the 16.5 percent Value Added Tax.