Zimbabwe is experiencing cooking oil shortages caused by an increase in edible oil prices on the international markets and foreign currency shortages being faced by oil expressers.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is reportedly still giving oil expressers the same amount of foreign currency it gave them in 2020 in spite of the sharp rise in the price of edible oil on the international market.
Local cooking oil manufacturers are now being forced to source the forex from the parallel market, where premiums are higher, and as a result, the price of cooking oil for a 2-litre bottle has increased to over ZWL$ 1 000. Business Times quoted a source as saying:
We have silent cooking oil shortages in the country as there are some areas where there is no cooking oil on the shelves and in instances where prices are now way above ZWL$1 000 per 2-litre bottle.
RBZ continues to give us US$500 000 per week since 2020 yet it knows that edible oil prices have gone up 111% to ZWL$2 000 per tonne from US$950. This is a recipe for shortages.
Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe president, Busisa Moyo, who is also the United Refineries Limited (URL) CEO told the publication that the cooking oil industry is facing viability challenges.
The cooking oil sector requires between US$8 million and US$12 million a month but it has received US$3 million for foreign payments from the RBZ, leaving a huge deficit.