Millers halt roller meal deliveries after GMB hikes prices

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By Leopold Munhende

ZIMBABWEAN millers have been forced to stop their zonal distribution of subsidised mealie meal following a sudden 100 percent government hike in the price of the scarce staple.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara said Wednesday cereal processors have stopped the deliveries after the government grain agent, Grain Marketing Board hiked its price.

Speaking in Ushewokunze, Harare where the association was overseeing the sale of mealie meal at a government stipulated price of $70, Musarara said all millers have resolved to wait for Industry Minister Sekai Nzenza’s next course of action regarding the subsidy.

A tonne of maize which cost $6 000 now costs $12 400.

“We are having challenges regarding the issue of pricing,” said Musarara.

“Last week, government and ourselves, entered into an agreement that prices will not go up during the lockdown.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), the GMB increased the price of maize by 100 percent.

“This has now forced millers to stop supplies of the product because that was done without proper consultation. We were supposed to agree on the new subsidy level and the new selling price.

“However, today since we had made a commitment in this area that we will bring in the product. We have brought this shipment at the normal price of $70 but in the next 48 hours, unless there is clarity, we are unable to deliver.”

Through the grain price increase, government could be going back on its position prices should remain stagnant during the lockdown period.

Government recently announced a price moratorium with business and industry leaders to have prices of goods rolled back to those that were existing as of 25 March this year.

Business was further warned not to increase prices of any product or service during the Covid-19 lockdown period.