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Govt increases price of subsidised mealie meal

Government has reviewed upwards the price of a 10kg packet of roller meal from ZWL$50 to ZWL$70 and announced that it was also strengthening its targeting system to allocate the mealie meal to deserving vulnerable citizens.

In December 2019, Government announced that it would subsidise roller mealie meal and pegged the price of the commodity at ZWL$50 for a 10kg bag after some retailers were now selling a 10kg bag of the staple between ZWL$100 and ZWL$150.

But the government has acknowledged that the subsidised price created undesirable conditions where unscrupulous players took advantage to sell the ‘cheap’ mealie meal at higher prices.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development confirmed the development and said the implementation of the new subsidy price was with immediate effect.

“The wide gap between the market and the subsidised prices has created undesirable arbitrage opportunities for unscrupulous players, resulting in the market and supply distortions. In view of the above, I am pleased to announce that government has reviewed upward the subsidised price from ZWL$50 to ZWL$70 per 10 kg bag of roller meal against the prevailing market prices of the product,” read the statement.

The finance ministry claimed that the government would strengthen a targeting system in due course such that deserving vulnerable citizens, as intended by the subsidy policy benefit.  

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) spokesperson, Garikai Chaunza told CITE that the regulatory body was yet to meet over the new development with the minister of finance (Professor Mthuli Ncube).

“We hold routine meetings with the ministry of finance and we have proposed to meet the minister to discuss this issue. After the meeting, we will tell you our position,” he said.

However, the mealie-meal crisis continues to worsen even after millers pledged to supplement government efforts to ease the shortage of the basic commodity on the market.

Residents are forced to buy mealie meal at the black market or so-called ‘cash shops’ where it is sold exorbitant prices, as formal supermarkets are characterised by long winding queues for the subsidised mealie meal that quickly runs out.

These shortages come despite GMAZ indicating they had acquired 100 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and Brazil a weeks ago, with the first consignment of the staple expected to have been delivered a fortnight ago.

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