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GOVT QUERIED ON USE OF MILITARY VEHICLES FOR MAIZE HAULAGE

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

GOVERNMENT was yesterday at pains in Parliament to explain why military vehicles are being used to ferry Food Reserve Agency (FRA) maize instead of allowing the private local transporters  to do the work as in the previous administration.

Independent Lumezi member of Parliament  Munir Zulu asked the Minister of Defence why the UPND government is using military vehicles to transport farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme; and whether the use of the military vehicles was not compromising state security.

However,acting Defence Minister, Mulambo Haimbe, clarified that the Army was not ferrying Farming inputs but maize under the Food Reserve Agency.

He said the use of military vehicles is only meant to secure the FRA  maize from satellite depots to the main holding sheds to ensure national food security.

Several members of Parliament said the use of military equipment to ferry maize was not only going to damage military hardware but also had potential to compromise national security.

The MPs also pressured the Minister to state whether the programme was nationalwide or was only being done in Southern province as seen on social media. The Southern  Province Minister Cornelius Mweetwa who was not in parliament was seen flagging off military trucks.

Mr Haimbe said the programme was national-wide and that the military vehicles will be deployed to any area where there is a need.  The minister said the military have the responsibility to come in and provide assistance whenever there is a crisis and that food security was one of them.

He said the military has special vehicles for haulage, and in this case are the ones being used as opposed to assertions that troop carriers are being used to transport FRA maize.

Mr Haimbe said the use of military vehicles to transport maize was a short and medium term intervention meant to fill a gap that has been identified and not as a substitute to private players.

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