Bulawayo City Council’s Ingwebu Breweries is struggling under pressure from falling demand for its products and the high cost of operating its antiquated machinery, chairman Moffat Ndlovu has said.
“Sales have been going down for some time and we are not realizing any profits,” Ndlovu said.
“The other challenge we are facing is that we are using the old plant and to change it we need a lot of money. We are putting some strategies to make sure that we are keeping on track. We are also thinking of introducing other programmes,” he added.
Early this year, the company announced plans to set up a plant to produce non-alcoholic sorghum beverages in a bid to diversify its income from its traditional beer offering but failed to raise the $500 000 needed for the project.
At the moment, the company is producing Ingwebu sorghum beer, its premier product for the 100 years it has been operating, but sales have suffered from the closure of most of its public outlets and competition from other brands.
Plans to expand operations into the Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces this year suffered a still birth, although it intends to go ahead with the revival of its brewery in Hwange, which has been lying idle for several years.
However, a document authored by one of the company’s managers who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation said that the firm’s underperformance was because of gross mismanagement of resources by current management.
The document alleged that the management structure was top heavy for the company considering its revenue base.
Senior managers have allocated themselves school fees and other allowances to the tune of $5 000 per month middle managers enjoy allowances of $1 000.
The retail department had been neglected through failure to restock, poor marketing strategies while its Khami Road head office is expensive to maintain.
Also, its human resources department is in shambles, and the company to date has lost 95 percent of the disciplinary cases against dismissed employees who have been awarded thousands of dollars.
Ndlovu said the board was currently investigating the allegations.
“As a board we have started our own investigations to prove whether those allegations are true or not. However, I would like to advise those people alleging gross abuse of company resources to approach us because we don’t like anonymous sources,” he said.- The Source