By SIMON MUNTEMBA
THE sidelining of local transporters by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) which is using military trucks to transport maize, is against the principle of local empowerment, Lumezi Independent Member of Parliament, Munir Zulu, has said.
Mr Zulu has challenged the government to explain why it was using military vehicles to transport maize at FRA depots in Southern Province at the expense of local transporters. Mr Zulu said military vehicles should not be used to deliver purchased maize to FRA depots at the expense of local transporters.
He said the transportation of FRA maize had always been a preserve for local contractors. “They have taken away business for local transporters. This is unacceptable,” Mr Zulu said. Mr Zulu also said in an interview that sending military vehicles to be collecting maize under FRA would compromise the country’s security in case the vehicles were needed for an emergency.
He said all the new dawn Government needed to do was to relook at the cancelled contracts that were awarded by the previous regime and allow them to transport maize. Mr Zulu was reacting to the flagging off of the military vehicles mandated to collect maize under the FRA throughout Southern Province, last week, by provincial minister, Cornelius Mweetwa. “Military vehicles must always be on stand by for serious emergencies and not transporting FRA maize. Government should have allowed local transporters to do that as a way of empowering them. “In fact, the FRA engages transporters to transport maize grains from depots all marketing seasons. What has happened for Government to send military vehicles this year?” Mr Zulu asked.