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Mnangagwa's govt fails to pay for subsidised mealie-meal

22 Jun 2020 at 08:24hrs | Views
The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe says that millers are struggling to stay afloat due to government's failure to meet its subsidy obligations.

GMAZ also said the lack of transparency in the allocation of maize was also complicating matters adding that this made it difficult for the association to know which member had been allocated maize.

The association also appealed to Government so that the allocations of maize are done according to a miller's ability to purchase and milling capacity to process the maize.

Meanwhile, the Grain Marketing Board has blamed millers for the shortage of subsidised roller meal in shops.

The mealie-meal which is selling for $70 in shops, has not been available for close to six weeks. The product is however available on the black market where it is being sold for US$5.

The black market is awash with the subsidised roller meal thereby confirming that either the millers or retailers are diverting the roller meal to the black market.

There have been allegations of corruption which has been blamed for the poor distribution of the roller meal and recently a Silo Food Industries employee from Bulawayo was arrested for diverting the mealie-meal to the black market.

Millers are saying the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is not providing maize for subsidised roller meal and as such they are producing super-refined mealie-meal from the maize they are importing using their own resources.

The price of super refined mealie-meal is not controlled and is selling for up to $500 for a 10kg bag in shops. The GMB is however blaming the millers for the shortage of roller meal in shops saying it has adequate maize to meet demand for roller meal maize. The parastatal says millers are not applying to be allocated the maize.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe Public Relations Manager Mr Garikai Chaunza yesterday said: "We are waiting for GMB to give us maize. At the moment, we are just milling non-roller meal products as we are using our own imported grain.

"We are ready and have the capacity to produce enough roller meal for the nation as long as we get maize from GMB. We do not know what's happening because we cannot get the maize. We are now milling the maize we are importing using our own resources and that is the mealie-meal that you are seeing in the shops," said Mr Chaunza.

He said another challenge was that the millers are yet to be paid subsidy money and this had affected their cashflow and the ability to import maize. Mr Chaunza challenged the GMB to make public the list of millers being allocated maize for roller meal. He said maize allocations must be based on individual miller's capacity to buy and mill but this was not the case at the moment.

The GMB chief executive officer Mr Rockie Mutenha insisted that maize was available at depots but millers were not applying for allocations.

"Millers are not telling the truth, they must submit their applications to access the subsidised maize. What I want to emphasise is that those who have no roller meal maize have not applied for allocations. These millers know the process and I do not understand why they are not doing what is supposed to be done," he said.

Source - Daily News on Sunday - The Herald
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