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Uproar over subsidised mealie-meal

by Staff reporter
09 Aug 2020 at 10:00hrs | Views
Consumers in various parts of the country have decried the alleged abuse of subsidised roller meal by some millers, who are allegedly diverting the basic commodity to the black market.

Last year, government, through the ministry of Industry and commerce in conjunction with the Grain millers Association of Zimbabwe (GmAZ), introduced a scheme in which the Grain marketing Board (GmB) would release maize to private millers, who would produce the staple mealie-meal.

The maize is released at subsidised prices and in turn the millers are expected to distribute it to retail shops for sale at the gazetted price of $70 per 10kg pack.

However, members of the public have complained that some millers are abusing the facility and channelling the mealie-meal to the parallel market where prices are pegged at between us$ 2.50 and us$3.50 per 10kg bag.

The abuse is reportedly rampant in cities such as Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo with some of the millers allegedly diverting the subsidised mealie-meal to drought prone areas like Gwanda and Filabusi.

"It is very unfair. some millers are taking advantage of the leniency of government to abuse the scheme.

"some of them actually use south African-marked packets to sell the subsidised roller meal so that they get an excuse to rip off consumers through forex prices," fumed one consumer in Harare's Warren Park area.

some millers purporting to be from Matabeleland have written an anonymous letter to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission claiming that their allocations were being mopped up by Gweru-based DCK Holdings owned by Douglas Kwande.

"Mr Kwande does not have the capacity to mill 1 000 tonnes a week," reads the letter.

"Why and how does he receive more than he can account for and more than he can process?

"Mr Kwande then gives the excess maize to Bulawayo millers for milling purposes and sell them the mealie meal in USD prices."

Asked for comment, GmAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara said: "Kindly reach out to the individual member concerned."

However, in an interview with Standardbusiness, Kwande denied any underhand dealings with subsidised maize and blamed the penning of the letter to turf wars.

"The people accusing me of such wrongdoing could be my bitter rivals. I have never diverted any mealie-meal to the black market," he said.

"We have a powerful scheme of feeding the nation and lately we have been to hospitals and high density suburbs selling the mealie-meal at subsidised prices and when we run dry I also take grain from my farm to feed the nation."

Kwande said for the past few days alone, DCK distributed over 100 tonnes of subsidised mealie-meal in cities such as Bulawayo, Gweru and Chitungwiza where thousands of people reportedly stampeded to buy the product at $70 per 10kg bag.

He said DCK was now a force to reckon in the milling industry and had the capacity to mill all the maize it was getting from GmB and elsewhere with no problem at all.

Source - the standard

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