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Unethical retailers face blacklisting

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2020 at 01:03hrs | Views
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) says it will blacklist its members that would be involved in side-marketing the roller meal from the Government's subsidy programme.

Of late, concerns have been raised that some unethical retailers were channeling into the parallel market for arbitrage opportunities, the mealie meal procured from the Grain Millers' Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) under the Government's subsidy initiative.

This has seen subsidised roller meal not being available on the formal market where the Government has gazetted the price of the commodity to be $50 for a 10 kilogramme bag against the parallel market's $70 to $90.

Speaking by telephone from Harare yesterday, CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said it has come to their attention that some unscrupulous retailers were involved in shady deals, compelling the retailers' representative body to take action.

In Bulawayo, it has emerged that some unethical retail shops, after receiving subsidised mealie meal, instead of selling it to the public, were using it to cook isitshwala/sadza in their restaurants.

"As CZR, we'll also take action against the shops involved in side marketing. One of the actions we will take is blacklisting them from accessing Government's subsidised products;we will ask the millers to cease supplying them.  

"If they are abusing the facility, then it means that there won't be success in the implementation of such Government's programmes," he said.

On Tuesday, the GMAZ, CZR and Bulawayo United Residents' Association held a meeting at a city hotel where a number of issues pertaining mealie-meal supply and distribution came under the spotlight.

"After the meeting, because we had not held such a meeting with all the stakeholders before, we can then safely say that those that would be found on the other side (side-marketing), will actually be reprimanded.  

"All other products, should they be subsidised it means they will not have them," said the CZR boss.

Recently, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube indicated that Government intends to put 15 more other basic commodities under the subsidy list to improve their supply in the market as well as cushioning the buying public from wanton price hikes by some retailers.

After their stakeholders' meeting, GMAZ chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara immediately told journalists during a Press conference that mealie-meal supply is expected to improve starting next week as all millers are being registered under Government's subsidy programme while mechanisms to import maize using free-funds have been put in place.

In October last year, the Government announced it had amended indefinitely Statutory Instrument (SI) 122 of 2017 to allow companies and individuals with offshore and free-funds to import specified basic commodities that are in short supply due to the speculative behaviour of local retailers and panic-buying by consumers.  

Following the above announcement, GMAZ has since put in place the necessary mechanism to facilitate the importation of grain from around the world to complement Government's efforts in ensuring food security at hosuehold level.

According to GMAZ, local demand for maize for commercial use is 80 000 tonnes per month and the millers' representative body has signed up close to 100 000 tonnes per month.  

As part of measures to guarantee food security, the Government in December last year announced that all registered millers would buy subsidised maize from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at $4 000 per tonne.

The Government is also registering all the millers under the subsidy initiative. This is in response to concerns by the milling industry that only eight out of the 108 millers operating legally in the country had been licensed for the programme since the proclamation of the maize subsidy programme.

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Source - the herald