Thursday, July 18, 2024

Competition Commission investigating clear beer cartels in the country


The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission – CCPC says it is reviewing the alleged cartelistic conduct perpetrated by some market players in the distribution value chain of clear beer products in the country.

This concern arises from the influx of complaints that the commission has received where some distributors are alleged to have formed cartels with middle-men selling alcohol beverages at exorbitant prices.

In a statement issued, CCPC Public Relations Officer Rainford Mutabi noted that in view of the foregoing, the Commission continues to review this matter and will share the findings upon conclusion.

The Bars and Night Clubs Association of Zambia President Peter Mwale said in an interview that the shortage of beer in the country is because of the distributors who have formed cartels, adding that the Zambia Breweries must stop these cartels.

Mr Mwale bemoaned that the unfair beer distribution chain characterized by corrupt dealers has made the local alcohol businesses to suffer at the expense of foreigners ” the Rwandese” who buy the whole beer load from Zambia Breweries and resale the commodity to locals at exorbitant prices, thus, causing an artificial shortage of lagers and subjecting Zambian businesses to buy on the black market especially this festival season.

He added that these cartels buy beer from Zambia Breweries and hold on to it, once the shortage is created, they sell to selected retailers and individuals at a very high price as they want to make more profit than the profit Zambia Breweries and Bars and Nights club owners are making.

Mr Mwale explained that what is happening now is that Zambia Breweries has recommended a price per crate for Lagers at 185 Kwacha but right now the same crate for 185 Kwacha is being bought at 250 Kwacha, adding that greedy distributors who have formed these cartels are causing retailers to do panic buying because whenever one hears that there’s beer being sold somewhere they rush and queue up there which is leading to buying the product at more than the recommended price set by Zambian Breweries.

The President stressed that if this is left unchecked, Foreigners will cause the price of the commodity to skyrocket, creating an unfair level of trade for beer.

He has challenged the Zambia Breweries to investigate the cartel involved in the unfair distribution of beer, adding that Zambia Breweries has been their all-weather friends as they have had meetings with them several times to discuss these challenges, and during the meetings they have brought these concerns to the Breweries attention where they said some selected named distributors are the ones that they feel are not doing well and the Breweries is fully aware of these distributors.

Mr Mwale assured that their Association has the capacity to handle the distribution process to their members, as they have structures across the country, and the beer will be directly delivered to the members once it is collected from Zambia Breweries.

“We have provided evidence to Zambia Breweries, but this issue has become very difficult for us to handle, because we made some suggestions during one of the meetings stating that they give us our own way of buying beer from them, where they begin to sale to us directly as an Association then we take to our members across the country, but their response was not very positive as they said they will look into the suggestions made but we haven’t received any feedback till now,” he said

“When Zambia Breweries was engaged on these challenges, the Breweries assured us that they were going to look into these issues and at one point they did mention to us that if we have some evidence or they find that some of these distributors are abusing the agreement that they have with the Breweries for the distribution of beer they would punish them by cancelling the contracts, or reprimand them but for us we don’t want to be involved in their arrangements that’s between them but the truth is that there is shortage of beer on the ground which has become very common,” Mr Mwale mentioned


  1. It’s long over due, I suspect even some of Zambian Breweries very senior employees are involved in cartels dig deeper. Honestly how do foreigners control the markets.

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