Tawanda Musarurwa Business Reporter
The Government has started implementing a subsidy programme on roller meal with registered grain millers.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube yesterday said grain millers will be able to buy maize grain from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at $4 000 per tonne.
Payment for the subsidy by Treasury will be based on verified production of maize roller meal by millers, based on the grain allocated by GMB.
The verification of production of the maize roller meal will be done by a team comprising officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
To ensure efficiency, grain millers are required to register with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
“Government is now rolling out the subsidy to all licensed grain maize millers who are formally registered in terms of tax purposes, have Government vendor numbers and have been accessing grain for milling purposes through Grain Marketing Board.
“Grain millers will purchase maize grain from the GMB at a price of $4000/mt as announced by Government on 5 December 2019,” said Minister Ncube.
“All licensed grain millers including non-GMAZ members will be allowed to participate in the maize roller meal subsidy programme, given that not all grain millers are members of GMAZ (Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe).
“Participation in the programme will require registration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Grain millers should provide details of their maize roller meal production capacity for verification. This should include schedules of grain purchases from GMB in 2019.”
To start the maize roller meal subsidy programme, Treasury said it will pay the subsidy for December 2019 in advance.
Going forward, monthly subsidy payments will be paid post verification of monthly production.
The latest development has cleared the air on how the subsidy is going to be implemented.
Earlier in the week, millers under GMAZ had said they were yet to get upfront payment of subsidy funds from the Government, and were threatening to revert to previous mealie-meal prices.
The Treasury boss said claims of the subsidy by grain millers should be submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Subsidy payments would be made from the budget through the ministry, directly to the individual grain millers’ bank accounts.
“In line with demand, a total of 40 000mt of maize grain is required to produce 32 000mt of maize roller meal per month. This implies an extraction rate of 80 percent which should be applied for the calculation of the subsidy to each grain miller.
“In this regard, GMB will avail this monthly maize grain tonnage. Grain millers are also free to import their maize grain requirements given the recent liberalisation of the importation of maize grain. The off-take of maize by grain millers from GMB will be based on market share of each grain miller,” said Minister Ncube.
“All claims for the subsidy should be backed by relevant documentation from the GMB for maize grain purchases and or a bill of entry for grain imports. Documentation relating to the production and sale of maize roller meal by each grain miller should also be submitted with the claim for the subsidy.”
The subsidy programme on maize roller meal is part of broader Government initiatives to create effective social safety nets.
Before the roll-out of the subsidy, prices of roller meal had skyrocketed, with a 10kg packet costing up to $115 in retail outlets. Last month, the Government removed import duty on several basic goods.
Cabinet also removed controls on import permits for maize grain, maize-meal and wheat flour with immediate effect and placed wheat flour on the Open General Import Licence.