10 January 2013

Namibia: Coke Shortage Discussed Today

A TEN-MAN sub-committee of northern businesspeople is expected to meet the management of Namibia Beverages today to address what they allege is " unfair treatment by Coca Cola".

This committee will be led by a businessman from Ondangwa, Paavo Amwele.

According to Tomas Iindji, chairperson of the northern branch of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Coca Cola management has indicated that they want to meet with members of the northern business community at Oshakati today to discuss the issues between them and Coca Cola.

They were unhappy because they accused Namibia Beverages of not supplying enough Coca Cola during the festive season.

A meeting on Tuesday at Ongwediva was marked by a heated debate between executive committee members of the NCCI's northern branch under the leadership of Iindji and those businesspeople who petitioned Coca Cola recently.

The petitioners are blaming Iindji because he was against their demonstration, but allegedly now pretends to have raised the Coca Cola issue first. On the day of the demonstration, Iindji sent messages to all NCCI members in which the chamber distanced itself from the demonstration.

The leader of the group who demonstrated, Edward Gabriel, demanded an apology from Iindji, saying Iindji has to apologise for what he told businesspeople - that he and the chamber are boycotting the demonstration.

Another member of the petitioners also demanded that only the group who had demonstrated must meet Coca Cola management today.

Some of those who demonstrated stormed out of Tuesday's meeting claiming they have other matters to attend to.

The governor of Oshana Region, Klemens Kashuupulwa, who was also at the meeting, called the meeting to order.

Iindji yesterday said that the petition had not been discussed at Tuesday's meeting and that more light would be shed on it today.

Kashuupulwa told the gathering that during the past festive season, the Oshana Region had experienced unprecedented business challenges that affected service delivery in the region.

He said the roads had also been congested - to the disappointment of road users.

Also, he said, unusually long queues were experienced in commercial banks and at many shopping centres, while consumers suffered shortages of essential products and services.

According to Kashuupulwa, Coca Cola beverage supplies were also in high demand.

Governor Kashuupulwa called on businesspeople to plan for the demand and supply of products and services proactively during Christmas and New Year's festivals. " In a competitive business environment, a strategic business owner ought to be proactive and prepare always more stock to manage the demand and supply of products and services to avoid embarrassing customers business venture and the growth of business enterprises," Kashuupulwa said.

He also urged the NCCI to redouble its efforts in assisting the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to acquire financial support to expand their businesses.

Kashuupulwa called on the businesspeople to join hands with foreign businesspeople with the aim of manufacturing products in Namibia. He said Namibia has now for a long time depended on importing finished products from either South Africa, Europe or Asia.

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