BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
Government yesterday approved an increase in the price of subsidised mealie-meal, with a 10kg packet now selling for $70 up from $50.
In a statement, the Finance ministry said the gap between the market and the subsidised price had created arbitrage opportunities for unscrupulous players, resulting in supply distortions.
“Government will announce a strengthened targeting system in due course such that deserving vulnerable citizens, as intended by the subsidy policy, benefit,” the ministry said.
Earlier, Grain Miller Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara had appealed to government to review the subsidies to improve viability of millers, while promising that the acute shortage of mealie-meal was set to ease, with trucks already on their way from South Africa with maize supplies.
He said this after a meeting with National Business Council of Zimbabwe chairperson Keith Guzah, who wanted to know why the price of mealie-meal remained very high after the government had introduced a subsidy programme.
GMAZ cried foul, claiming the Industry ministry was sidelining its members, preferring big companies for licensing for the subsidy programme, triggering a shortage of the mealie-meal.
Musarara added that Zimbabwe was competing with other countries in the region such as Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi to get maize from South Africa.