By Idah Mhetu
ZIMBABWEAN millers have imported from South Africa, 10 000 metric tonnes of the staple maize to feed a starving population but have expressed dismay over continued government delays in disbursing ZWL120 million in roller meal subsidy refunds dating back to last December.
In a statement Tuesday, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) media and public relations manager Garikai Chaunza said the cereal processors were however grateful over government support towards importation of the consignment.
“The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is happy to announce that we have so far managed to import 10 000 metric tonnes of maize from South Africa, whose efforts have been made possible by the government which has given us the opportunity to import,” Chaunza said.
“We are, however, waiting for a review of the price of roller meal subsidy from the government so that we pump the product into the market and hope to improve the supply of the commodity within the next 30 days.”
Chaunza said the supply of roller meal into the retail market was being hampered by continued delays by government to disburse subsidy for already delivered roller meal.
“Millers are currently owed in excess of ZWD120 million by the government in roller subsidy refunds dating back from last December, and this is affecting the constant supply of roller meal. Under normal circumstances, the subsidy payments should come within seven days,” he said.
Chaunza also said the rampaging coronavirus that has devastated inland China and spread to parts of the world has also affected prospects of procuring maize from Asia.
“The CoronaVirus epidemic has also affected our trips to Asia and related destinations where we intend to procure rice, maize, and wheat,” he said.
Efforts have however been made by government to ensure Zimbabwe’s food aid dependant population does not starve.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry posted on Twitter Monday that more grain was headed for Zimbabwe as the country grapples with recurrent hunger affecting many.
“Reports from Ambassador (Douglas) Nyikayaramba in Maputo indicate that more drought relief grain is bound for Zimbabwe from STEMA in Maputo with 259 wagons dispatched to Bulawayo to date. A balance of 143 wagons is outstanding to clear this whole consignment,” read the report.
The ministry also said 153 trucks have been dispatched with grain from Beira to Harare, leaving a balance of 179 trucks.
“Ambassador (Douglas) Nyikayaramba also reports that, on the Beira corridor, to date 153 trucks have been dispatched with grain from Beira to Harare, leaving a balance of 179 trucks. 113 wagons have been dispatched leaving a balance of 142 to complete the drought relief consignment,” read the report.