By Anyway Yotamu
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr Sekai Nzenza has issued a stern warning to retailers against hoarding of the maize meal with regards the Roller Meal subsidy programme.
The statement comes as retail shops are reportedly running out of maize meal due to panic buying by shoppers and hoarding by some retailers across the country.
Speaking to journalists on the 23rd of January 2020 in the capital city, Minister Nzenza said: “Following the government decision to introduce the maize grain subsidy program in December 2019, the ministry of Industry and Commerce has been working in collaboration with key stakeholders to curtail the maize meal shortages.”
“During the course of the holidays, there were challenges since some of the companies were closed resulting in the maize meal shortage which is still being experienced in some parts of the the country. To address the areas experiencing critical shortages and to ensure that maize meal is available to all consumers ,the ministry is closely monitoring the subsidy program in collaboration with Confederation of Retailers Association, GMB and other key stakeholders”.
To address these challenges especially in Bulawayo and some parts of Matebeleland, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has put up a task-force team which is led by Deputy Minister Raj Modi to monitor and ensure that there is transparency in the distribution of the subsidy.
“Hence in Bulawayo and Matebeleland provinces, we have put in place a task-force team led by Deputy Minister Raj Modi to ensure transparent and equitable distribution of maize meal at affordable prices. In Bulawayo, retailers have already started receiving their maize at affordable prices,” she said.
Minister Nzenza also assured the nation that her Ministry is in constant touch with Grain Marketing Board (GMB) on the allocation of maize to millers to ensure production of maize meal and its availability to consumers at affordable prices across the country.