Zimbabwe restores staple maize meal subsidy

HARARE – Zimbabwe  has restored maize meal subsidies on the staple maize meal following their removal on a wide range of products in line with economic reforms aimed at re-aligning government spending.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube removed the subsidy on maize meal and flour in his 2020 budget statement last month.
This however sparked price increases in the past week, with the price of a 10 kilogram bag of roller meal going up to ZWL110 (about R70 on the streets of Harare), prompting Mnangagwa to reverse the removals.
Ncube said on Thursday that Harare would now fund the procurement of grain at market prices and selling to registered maize millers in an effort to ensure affordability of the commodity.
“Government will ensure that the requisite monthly tonnage of 40 000 tonnes required for producing 32 000 metric tonnes of roller meal will be timely availed by the Grain Marketing Board to members of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe,” said Ncube.
He added that the new model would result in the retail price of ZWL50.00” for a 10 kg bag.
“The President (Mnangwaga) announced that subsidies on maize be restored in-order to cushion vulnerable groups of your society from the negative impact of increases in basic food prices,” he said.
Zimbabweans are facing challenges from the persistent economic problems hitting the country. Companies and local authorities have been feeling the heat too, prompting them to scrap postpaid arrangements for bills and services.
City Parking, which runs parking services for the Harare City Council, said on Thursday that it was discontinuing prepaid card arrangements for motorists in the capital.
It joins Econet Wireless, the biggest mobile operator in Zimbabwe which has also discontinued contract line arrangements for which subscribers pay months after usage.
Mnangagwa’s administration has presided over a worsening economic situation with the country having to import maize after a failed agriculture season, worsened by drought conditions and the effects of Cyclone Idai.
The UN said this week it would provide food aid for 4 million Zimbabweans to avert hunger.
In an effort to offset the effects of rising prices and crippled local productivity, Mnangagwa’s has opened up imports from neighboring countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.