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Mnangagwa's maize subsidy sabotaged

19 Jan 2020 at 05:52hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a Presidential Maize Subsidy meant to benefit the masses. This was a response to Mthuli Ncube's poorly planned removal of subsidies on maize

President Mnangagwa prioritised the needs of the people and declared the return of what has been dubbed the Presidential Maize Subsidy.

Subsidies on maize-meal and rice were restored to ensure citizens have access to cheaper basic foodstuffs and cushion them against the obtaining economic challenges, this is according to President Mnangagwa's wishes.

Addressing youths at the 2019 National Youth Convention in Kadoma, the President said maize-meal and rice were basic commodities and removing the subsidy would adversely affect the masses.

President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to create safety nets to help and protect the  people.

On the issue of the removal of the maize subsidy the President said, "I want to say this here, the issue of mealie-meal affects a lot of people and we cannot remove the subsidy. So, I am restoring it so that the price of mealie-meal is also reduced."

Mnangagwa reiterated that basic goods must be cheap so that everyone can afford them.

"We have a cheap food policy that we are creating to ensure that basic foods are affordable," he said.

In his 2020 National Budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube said subsidies on roller meal, standard loaves of bread and cooking oil would remain.

But he was moving from the more general subsidy of offering manufacturers cheap foreign exchange, which distorted markets and saw products used by the rich being subsidised as well as those used by most people, to direct subsidies on the most critical products paid to manufacturers.

However the Presidential Maize Subsidy has been sabotaged by technocrats who have setup dodgy bureaucratic systems that have given preference to a select few Millers and leaving out the majority of Millers.

The Presidential Maize should be speedily implemented for the benefit of citizens.

Since the reinstatement of the subsidy on roller meal on December 5 last year, the product has largely not been available in most supermarkets countrywide, as a result of sabotage by technocrats.

The sabotage on the Presidential Maize Subsidy has left people having to buy a 10kg bag of maize meal for more than $100, instead of $50.

The systematic sabotage of the Presidential Maize Subsidy saw the licensing of eight millers out of a possible 61 and this has been blamed for the shortage of subsidised roller meal. The few roller meal packets produced find their way into the hands of a few buyers, who in turn sell at exorbitant prices making the Presidential Maize Subsidy null and void.

The saboteurs of the Presidential Maize Subsidy gave eight millers licences to produce subsidised mealie meal , two of these 8 are huge, tried and tested, who claim to have massive capacity to produce, though their massive capacity was not felt by the consumers during the festive season. These Millers claim to have 60% of market share though they failed to produce 60% of the roller meal needed by the market. This raised eyebrows as to whether or not the Presidential Maize Subsidy saboteurs were benefiting from these few licences or not.

The Presidential Maize Subsidy should be a success without hiccups or sabotage. The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company(ZUPCO) transport subsidy has been a rolling success and the public has praised the President for the transport subsidy.

The Presidential Transport subsidy is well appreciated by participating bus companies and the commuters. Its take off was not as difficult as the roller meal one, yet it is actually the more complicated one.

There is urgent need interrogate the bureaucratic procedures in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to ensure that no one is deliberately sabotaging the Presidential  roller meal subsidy either for personal gain or political reasons.

Maize meal is the staple food and its availability and at what costs tends to be political, in Zambia people are angry at President Lungu over maize prices and tee same has to be avoided for Zimbabwe. Presidential Maize Subsidy saboteurs must not be allowed to get away with it.

Source - Nicholas Ncube
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