Operators in the beverages industry have formed a wholesalers and retailers association to enhance lobbying for stakeholder interests. The Beverages Wholesalers and Retailers Association has since been registered as a legal entity and a national executive is now in place.
Mr Petros Isaac Kanjera was recently elected as the inaugural president of the new beverages association.
Mr Kanjera said the establishment of the beverages association was meant to improve communication among producers, wholesalers and retailers.
This is expected to enhance co-ordination of programmes and also ensure those in the industry speak with one voice nationwide.
"The association, which is a national entity, has been formed to foster relations between producers, retailers and wholesalers," he said.
"The motive is to ensure better communication between producers and consumers of the (beverage) products," said Mr Kanjera.
The BWRA president added that the association would further Government's policy on indigenisation, which is at its nascent stage.
"The association will guard against detractors of Government's indigenisation policy. Locals are encouraged to get into business," he said.
Forces working against Government's indigenisation programme, as is the case with some unscrupulous foreigners who control large beverage firms, bring about restrictive tendencies.
Players in the beverages industry have complained that in many instances prices are unilaterally hiked at the producer level while fixed at wholesale and retail level making the non-producers net price takers.
Such unscrupulous practices that have been highlighted in the sector prompted the Competition and Tariff Commission to investigate. CTC has also hitherto investigated claims of restrictive and unfair practices by players in the electricity and medical services sectors.
Against this background, the Beverages Wholesalers and Retailers Association has called for more players in beverages production to promote diversity and encourage competition among manufacturers.
They have also called for locals to acquire more shares in dominant beverage manufacturers to enable them to influence decisions.