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‘Keep mealie-meal prices down’

THE Consumers Association of Zambia (ZACA) has appealed to the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) to dialogue with Government before increasing prices of mealie meal.
ZACA information and publicity secretary Juba Sakala said the proposed mealie-meal price increase will adversely affect the consumer who is already financially overburdened.
“It’s not a good idea for MAZ to increase the price of mealie meal before they dialogue with Government. MAZ should endeavour to explain the challenges that they are facing so that an amicable solution is found,” he said in an interview.
Mr Sakala said consumers are already facing several challenges due to the increase in prices of goods and services, as a result of the depreciation of the Kwacha against major currencies.
He also urged Government to consider exporting only 500,000 tonnes of maize and spare the 300,000 for local consumption.
Mr Sakala said exporting some of the maize is good because it will bring in foreign exchange, earnings which the country needs for stabilising the economy.
He said, however, that this should be done in moderation, failure to which it will create a grain shortage for millers, and subsequently push up mealie-meal prices.
On Sunday, MAZ announced that the price of mealie meal will go up by K10 to K15 due to high maize prices and rising operational costs.
MAZ said the high maize prices were triggered by international traders who are exporting massive quantities, and thus pushing up prices given the lower grain harvest in the 2014/2015 farming season.
MAZ president Allan Sakala is therefore, calling on Government to ban maize exports to stabilise commodity prices.
Mr Sakala also cited loss in production because of loadshedding, general power outages and the proposed increase in electricity tariffs for commercial users as their reason for increasing mealie-meal prices.

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