BY Richard Muponde/ Rutendo Matanhike
GOVERNMENT has baulked to pressure and re-introduced price controls on mealie-meal, pegging the retail price of a 10kg bag of roller meal at $50 after announcing a new subsidy on maize meal.
Grain millers had raised the price to $101 after government scrapped the maize meal subsidy during the 2020 national budget presentation three weeks ago.
Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube announced the price control of maize meal yesterday morning.
“As you may be aware, His Excellency the President, (Cde) ED Mnangagwa, announced that subsidies on maize had been restored in order to cushion the vulnerable groups of our society from the negative impact of increases in basic food prices,” he said.
“In this regard, the new subsidy model will, therefore, target the production of roller meal, resulting in the retail price of $50 for a 10kg bag.”
The subsidy on maize meal was restored by Mnangagwa while addressing a Zanu PF youth rally in Kadoma last week to ensure citizens have access to cheaper basic foodstuffs and cushion them against the obtaining economic challenges.
Meanwhile, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairman Tafadzwa Musarara yesterday said following an agreement with government on maize meal subsidies, 40 000 tonnes of the grain had been allocated towards the production of the much-needed commodity.
Speaking at a Press conference in Harare, Musarara said the association’s membership across the country had commenced the production of maize meal.
“Grain millers welcome the grain subsidy which follows an announcement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa two days ago that subsidies would be reinstated, but, of cause, the question was how this would be done,” he said.
“We are glad to advise that we have successfully completed and agreed with the Ministry of Finance on the application of the subsidies specifically on 10kg roller meal. All modalities are in place to ensure that the subsidies are accounted for and that it is effectively applied and benefits the consumer. This morning, we mobilised our membership countrywide to commence production of maize meal.”
Musarara said subsidised maize meal was expected to be on the market before the Christmas holiday.
“Forty thousand tonnes of maize have been allocated for that purpose in order to produce 32 000 tonnes of maize meal for the country. In a few days, the product should be there as well as we head towards Christmas,” he said
Zimbabwe consumes 120 000 metric tonnes of maize meal per month.