HARARE – The Zimbabwe unit of global drinks company AB inBev, Delta Beverages, says it will start accepting only US dollars in order to US dollars to remain viable in the face of an acute foreign currency crunch.

In a circular dated January 2, Delta said it would from Friday stop selling its beers and soda drinks in the surrogate "bond note" currency which was originally pegged on par with the US dollar but has dramatically lost value as the weak economy undermines consumer confidence.

Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar a decade ago after it was rendered worthless by hyperinflation, adopting the use of the greenback and other foreign currency. It has however struggled with chronic shortages of forex due to weak exports.

Delta said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was failing to meet foreign currency demand, leaving the company struggling to pay its foreign suppliers and hampering production.

“In order to sustain our operations, the company advises the retail and wholesale customers that its products will be charged in hard currency with effect from Friday January 4, 2019,” it said.

“Our business has been adversely affected by the prevailing shortages of foreign currency, resulting in the company failing to meet your orders and in the case of soft drinks, being out of stock for prolonged periods."

Delta said a new new fiscal and monetary policy framework put in place in October had made access to foreign currency difficult for non-exporters.

The drinks maker said it had invested over US$600 million in plant and equipment, vehicles and ancillary services since 2009, so "there is need to protect this investment and ensure sustenance of all value chain partners".

African News Agency (ANA)