Pizza Hut struggles to get import permits

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Kudzanai Sharara
Quick services restaurant and international franchise Pizza Hut, which opened its doors early February says it has had a few issues with securing import permits amid overwhelming demand for its products.

The company said it was “adjusting to doing business in Zimbabwe,” and has faced a few issues with securing imported supplies.

Said Pizza Hut: “There have been a few issues with securing import permits for our stock that have resulted in a few snags, but we are working tirelessly to address this.”

Companies operating in Zimbabwe are required to apply for import permits to bring in raw materials with Government making the final decision on what can be imported depending on importance.

Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Mike Bimha is on record saying: “The approval of the permits is now subject to the availability of a specific commodity on the local market, domestic industry’s capacity to produce as well as its strategic importance to economic requirements.”

Government also gave a directive that there was a need to revise the rules and regulations governing the importation and exportation of agricultural produce and this has had far reaching effect to industry, with Zimbabweans mostly reliant on imported fresh produce some of which are ingredients in the making of products such as pizza.

Pizza Hut, an American restaurant chain opened its doors in Zimbabwe in partnership with Silicoade Capital, believed to be owned by popular Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa.

At the time of opening, Pizza Hut and its parent company Yum! Brands said Zimbabwe is seen as a strategically integral market to its expansion across Africa.

However, the company said its biggest challenge so far has been scaling up its operations to meet demand.

“Currently our biggest challenge has been scaling up to meet the incredible demand Zimbabweans have for our Pizza,” the company said.

“In less than a week we have been forced to increase our capacity to handle the orders. We are also installing a sitting area at the restaurant as a response to the needs of our customers,” said Pizza Hut in response to Business Weekly.

“The response has been overwhelming and we greatly appreciate the support given so far.”

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