Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu has officially commissioned the Zambian Breweries’ new US$33 million malting plant in the capital Lusaka. Construction of the first malting plant in the country started in January 2015 and was completed within three years. It is designed for a production of 15,000 tons of malt made from locally grown barley. Two thirds of the production will be used for the production of so called “clear beer” in the company’s two breweries, while one third will be exported. The new plant can store up to 15,000 tons of barley and malt in 10 silos and will recruit some 50 permanent workers.
“This malting plant is a concrete demonstration of the confidence that Zambian Breweries and its shareholders have in the long-term growth of the economy and the stability of the tax environment,” said Zambian Breweries Country Director Annabelle Degroot. Last month, the brewery already commissioned a new US$2 million packaging line at the company’s Mungwi Road plant in Lusaka.
This and other investments are following government’s decision to reduce excise tax on clear beer from 60 percent to 40 percent in the 2016 Budget. The lower tax reduced smuggling beer into the country from abroad and is therefore preventing cannibalization of local production through illegal imports.
“At the time that clear beer excise was reduced to 40 percent, some people were worried about such a move, but that bold policy by government has proved to be absolutely the right decision and a win-win for government and business. We commend and thank government for their forward looking policies,” said Degroot in the presence of President Edgar Lungu.
Zambian Breweries was a subsidiary of SABMiller but changed ownership last year with the takeover of SABMiller by its larger rival AB InBev. Main beer brands include Mosi, Castle and Castle Lite lagers.