FULL TEXT: Gvt Spokesperson Makozo Chikote responds to criticism on gvt measures to stabilise maize meal prices

Estimated read time 3 min read

Government has observed that debate has continued raging over the cheaper mealie meal that has been offloaded on the market by the Zambia National Service (ZNS).

We wish to emphasise that it is the duty of Government, everywhere in the world, to ensure that the cost of the staple food is within the reach of its citizens.

The nation may wish to know that there is a clear background to the rise in the cost of mealie meal.

The mealie meal price increase was triggered by the increased purchase price of maize, from K180 last year to K280 this year. As you may be aware, if maize price is increased, it is inevitable that mealie meal prices must increase.

Increasing the maize purchase price was a deliberate strategy to increase maize production. Commercial farmers had abandoned maize production because it was unprofitable and, consequently, maize production in the country started going down while demand was rising, both on the local market and on the international market.

There was, therefore, need for Government to come up with a strategy to bring back commercial farmers in the maize field.

This Government envisages that when the country produces more maize, it will be able to export the surplus to the many countries that are yearning for Zambian maize.

Government anticipates that the money that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will raise from exporting surplus maize will be enough to subsidise the sale of the remaining maize to Zambians at a moderate price.

In the meantime, Government has put in place a number of measures to cushion the high cost of mealie meal on the vulnerable.

Offloading the current stocks of maize to ZNS, in order to produce cheaper mealie meal, is one of the many measures that this Government has put in place to cushion the impact of the cost of living while it implements long term measures to emancipate the Zambian people from the shackles of poverty that they were left in by the previous regime.

Other measures include the following:

(a) The most vulnerable citizens have been put on social cash transfer.
(b) Government has introduced free education so that citizens use the money saved by not paying school fees to buy mealie meal and other essential commodities.
(c) Government has allowed partial withdrawal of NAPSA so that more people can grow maize and benefit directly from the increased purchase price of maize. There is also a loan facility that has been introduced to support maize production.
(d) Government has introduced CDF bursaries and reintroduced meal allowances for students so that parents are able to afford mealie meal and other essential commodities at the current price.
(e) Government has enhanced the employment of citizens so that more people are employed and are able to afford mealie meal and other essential commodities at the current price.

Government reiterates its desire and determination to ensure the improvement of the living standards of the people.

Hon. Makozo Chikote, MP

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours