Source: Roller meal supplies to improve | The Herald December 27, 2019
Ivan Zhakata and Elita Chikwati
Roller meal supplies are set to improve after today’s meeting between the Government and millers.
Millers and representatives of five ministries and State agencies are expected to fix the long delays in registering millers and speed up the distribution of subsidised roller meal.
Government early this month scrapped general maize subsidies and replaced them with a specific and targeted subsidy on roller meal produced by approved and registered millers.
However, there have been delays in getting the subsidised product to the market in sufficient quantities, largely because of time taken to register millers.
Millers are expected to meet today the representatives from the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, Finance and Economic Development and Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, plus the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
The switch from a general grain subsidy to a particular product subsidy was meant to ensure that market prices prevailed throughout the system, except on the wholesale and retail prices of the actual subsidised product, thus removing market distortions that led to widespread cheating and inefficiencies.
The switch also ensured that the full budget for the subsidy was applied to just the product eaten by the most vulnerable households.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said her officers were working flat out to resolve problems in the registration of millers to ensure adequate supplies are delivered to the market.
“I am surprised that the process is taking long as the team is working hard to register millers,” she said.
“However, we need to resolve this matter quickly and there should be no shortages at all,” she said.
The Finance and Economic Development Ministry ordered the registration of millers on December 13.
Some millers have expressed concern over the slow registration process.
They are now withholding stocks fearing that they may not be registered at all.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) media and public relations manager Mr Garikai Chaunza confirmed today’s meeting.
“We have more than 60 millers who are yet to be registered and we are glad that the authorities have called them all to attend the meeting to discuss and iron out all sticking issues.
“Millers have roller meal in their stocks and they are holding on to it pending the registration process by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, whose process they are saying is not moving.
“They are saying they are being taken from one office to another for the past two weeks, but without getting any assistance and it is our hope that Government moves the process so that millers release their stocks,” he said.
Government has committed to provide 40 000 tonnes of maize to millers for subsidised roller meal production each month, starting this month.
This should satisfy the projected demand of 32 000 tonnes of roller meal a month.