Natfoods suspends imports of Better Buy pasta

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Kudzanai Sharara
Listed entity National Foods has suspended the imports of one of its products, Better Buy pasta, as it tries to effectively utilise the limited forex resources, Group Chief Executive Officer Mike Lashbrook has said.
Responding to emailed questions by Business Weekly, Lashbrook said the company is now prioritising foreign currency allocations to major products.
“We have suspended imports of Better Buy pasta to direct the currency available to our major product categories,” said Lashbrook.
Lashbrook said the Group’s MCG business relies heavily on imported raw materials with products such as rice, salt and pasta all sourced from outside the country as there is no local production.
“The MCG’s performance will to a large extent be driven by foreign currency availability in the year ahead.”
He however, said to date the group had managed to meet market demands for the products with the exception of Better Buy pasta which had to be suspended.
“To date we have managed to ensure consistent availability of rice and salt. Provided that we are able to secure adequate foreign currency, these products will continue to be available,” said Lashbrook.
In the FY2017 results, the MCG division produced a significantly improved result, driven by rice volumes which increased by 24 percent and Red Seal salt which maintained its market leading position.
Most Zimbabwean companies have resorted to prioritising their foreign currency allocations as they try to manage the limited resource.
Last year, beverage manufacturer Delta said it had stopped applying for the repatriation of dividend to its foreign shareholders in an effort to priorities the importation of raw materials and critical equipment.
Company secretary Alex Makamure said: “We haven’t actually bothered to make an application (for dividend payments) as we are prioritizing business operational issues (such as payment for consignments).”
Many other businesses, especially manufacturers and mines, have been struggling to make foreign payments since nostro balances depleted at the beginning of 2016.

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