Monday, April 8, 2019

Olivine Industries shuts down margarine plant

The latest revelations are that Olivine has not been operating its margarine manufacturing plant since January this year.
The crisis was caused by shortage of foreign currency. Investigations by ZimEye for a 2 year period reveal that the forex problem emerged after the former Reverse Bank governor Gideon Gono was hired by the government to manage reserve allocations.
In December 2017, several cooking oil companies’s bosses who spoke to ZimEye complained saying they were on the brink of shutting down because of low forex-oxygen(as it were). Contacted for a comment, RBZ governor John Mangudya told ZimEye he is “not aware of such a thing.”
In the latest development, the Olivine acting chief executive officer, Mr Sylvester Mangani, has told the state media of a closure of its margarine unit.
Mangani said this was as a result of persistent shortage of foreign currency in the economy.
“There is a shortage of our buttercup margarine in the market. The margarine plant is closed from January 2019 due to shortages of raw materials,” he said.
Mr Mangani said margarine requires very special and patented flavours, which are imported.
He could not disclose how much foreign currency was needed a month but said apart from vegetable fats, all the other inputs were imported on a regular basis because the ingredients had a short shelf life.
“The company is failing to import raw materials because it has not received forex from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) since October last year,” Mr Mangani said.
Mr Mangani said before 2016, Olivine was a loss making company but that has become a thing of the past as the firm has successfully turned around under the new management and partnership with Surface Wilmar. He however said there was an urgent need to address the issue of forex shortage so that the company can continue with its expansion plans.
Last year Government disclosed that it was considering selling part of its 35 percent stake in Olivine to Surface Wilmer in order to raise foreign currency towards recapitalisation. Surface Wilmer is the largest producer of edible oils in the country and is the major investor in Olivine