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ESWATINI BEVERAGES TO PRODUCE FOR EXPORT

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MBABANE – All is not lost as Eswatini Beverages has been allowed to export its products for the duration of the alcohol ban.


Those in the industry are currently up in arms with government following the two-month alcohol ban which is supposed to come into effect tomorrow. However, Eswatini Beverages can breathe a sigh of relief as it will remain operational during the period of the ban.
The country’s government has met with the regional team of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-Inbev) and the leadership of Eswatini Beverages following the ban on alcohol in the kingdom for the next two months.


The virtual meeting involved Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini and Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo, while the regional team was led by Ricardo Moreita, the President of the Africa Zone, Zoleka Lisa (Vice President Corporate Affairs SA), Andrew Murray (Vice President Finance) as well as Eswatini Beverages Country Director Bridget Makhura and Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs Mphumelelo Makhubu.


The aim of the meeting, according to Minister Khumalo, was to discuss contingency plans to circumvent revenue and job losses in view of the pronounced ban on alcohol wholesale and distribution for the next two months.


Investment


“His Excellency (PM) explained in detail government’s position regarding protection of investment at present and post COVID-19. He also had the opportunity to give highlights of the post COVID–19 Economic Recovery Plan.


“The President of the Africa Zone appealed for a shorter period of the ban while pledging social corporate responsibility that the company can provide to curb the spread of the pandemic.

He further pledged the company’s intentions of expansion in future to provide more employment for emaSwati and further contribute through tax revenues. AB-Inbev committed to preserve the employment of emaSwati during this time by embarking on an export strategy to the Southern African region,” reported Minister Khumalo.


The meeting was a follow up to an engagement held between Minister Khumalo and the Eswatini Beverages local team in the presence of the Director Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Mluleki Dlamini.


 “During the gathering mitigation options were explored and government committed to work with Eswatini Beverages to enable the business to import raw materials and further export their products for the duration of the alcohol ban.


“This option is viewed in light of future opportunities that can be attained in relation to product market diversification,” said Minister Khumalo.
Government thanked AB-Inbev and Eswatini Beverages for their valuable support during such a difficult period.

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