BY Staff Reporter
Lobels bread has shut down its Kwekwe plant citing crippling foreign currency shortages and failure to procure the much needed raw materials to produce bread.
The bread producer earlier last year took over the plant from Kwekwe based bakery Plaza to an estimated $20 000.
Plaza had closed shop in 2017 due to operational challenges.
The latest closure has left the Lobels over 100 workforce in limbo.
Workers told this publication that they were told that the plant was going to be shut down due to operational challenges.
“We were told that the company was going to shut down the plant. They told us that the reason for the closure was due to shortages of flour and foreign currency to continue with operations,” one of the workers said.
Another added, “We understand that government was supposed to avail us with foreign currency but that was not the case.”
The workers are now in limbo as they are not sure if the closure is temporary.
“We are not sure if this closure is a temporary or a permanent closure. But what we know is that currently there is no production at the plant,” one of the workers said.
Efforts to get a comment from the company proved fruitless after repeated calls proved to the company’s headquarters proved futile.
Late last year the central bank the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) agreed to meet 80 percent of their foreign currency requirements to fund imports for wheat, which is in short supply in the country.
Previously the central bank was availing just 35 percent of the foreign currency the the bakers requested.
The confectionery companies have not been spared from an increase in commodity prices.
The price waves have been triggered by the introduction of austerity measures, including a 2% electronic transaction tax introduced by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube forcing the prices of basic commodities to go up.
Recently bakers increased the price of bread from $1, 40 to $2, 60 or alternatively US $0, 90 for a standard loaf.
Bakers have since cited a rise in the cost of production and the Reserve Banks’ of Zimbabwe’s failure to disburse foreign currency allocations to enable them to pay for their export requirements.