By SIMON MUNTEMBA
GOVERNMENT should open up the export market and do away with the export permit to allow farmers sell their maize following the Food Reserve Agency’s decision to close its maize marketing season, Economic and Equity Party (EEP) president, Chilufya Tayali has demanded.
And Mr Tayali has described calls to have former President Edgar Lungu’s immunity removed as “useless” because there was no tangible evidence of the criminality that he committed.
Mr Tayali said Government should consider lifting the export ban and open up the export market for maize and mealie-meal so that the nation could earn some much needed forex revenue.
He said if the government meant well for the farmers, it should consider facilitating a market for the farmers within the region where they could sell their produce.
“The marketing is begging around the neighbouring countries. Malawi, Congo DR and other countries want our maize. The Congolese can mop up all our maize within one month and take it to Congo. They can buy in dollars.
“Government should just open the market up without any restriction so that people can quickly go and sell. There is no need of banning or asking for a licence to export maize. Let them just open up,” he said.
Mr Tayali said on the other hand, if the maize export market was not opened up, millions of metric tonnes of excess maize would go to waste.
He said most farmers especially in rural areas still have maize stocks, wondering where they would take their stock.
He reminded the UPND government that proper management of an economy requires proactive policies necessary for the creation of a conducive business environment needed for economic players to thrive and possibly prosper.
Meanwhile, Mr Tayali has challenged those calling for the removal of Mr Lungu’s immunity to provide evidence on the alleged crimes that he committed.
He urged the ruling party to concentrate on delivering on their campaign promises such as reducing the price of fertiliser, fuel and electricity, as well as ending load shedding.
“Deliver on your promises, removing the immunity of President Edgar Lungu will not put food on the table of Zambians, nor will it create jobs, empower youths, reduce the price of fertiliser, reduce the price of fuel and electricity, remove load shedding and many other things which made people go out to vote to change government,” Mr Tayali said.
He said calls to have Mr Lungu’s immunity removed were not only uncalled for but also meant to divert people’s attention from real issues affecting them.
“Focus on your promises because removing the immunity of President Edgar Lungu is a nonessential issue since there is no evidence of his criminality. This is just a distraction from the campaign promises,” Mr Tayali said.
Meanwhile, President Hakainde Hichilema last week urged the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) to take advantage of the available markets in neighbouring countries to sell mealie meal and maize bran.
President Hichilema said his administration would not ban the exportation of maize and mealie meal as long the country was food secure.
He said this when the MAZ delegation led by its president, Mr Andrew Chintala paid a courtesy call on him at State House..