‘250, 000MT FRA MAIZE won’t end high mealie meal price crisis’
By NATION REPORTER
THE offloading of 250,000 metric tonnes of maize to millers by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is not sustainable because it will help slightly reduce the price of mealie meal for only two months, Citizens First (CF) president Harry Kalaba has said.
And Mr Kalaba says the Citizens First Party shall not support the return of Vedanta to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) because of its terrible record as an investor.
On Monday, the FRA announced that it had offloaded 250,000 metric tonnes of maize from national strategic reserves to help bring down the price of mealie meal.
The country has been grappling with a sharp increase in the price of the staple food, which has been fetching between K180 and K220 for a 25 kilogram bag causing a public outcry as it is too expensive for an average household.
FRA said following its intervention the commodity would now cost between K160 and K170.
But Mr Kalaba said on a live programme on Kwithu FM that the reduction was insignificant and that the quantity of maize the agency had released to the millers would only last for two months.
“The offloading of maze to millers will temporarily see a minimal reduction in the prices of mealie meal but this is not a permanent solution. This will not even work because that maize will last for only two months and we will be back to the same situation. It is a temporary measure which will not give relief to Zambians,” Mr Kalaba said.
Mr Kalaba wondered what barometer the government would use to ensure that the millers would pass the benefit to consumers.
“That maize will run out after two or three months and we will revert to the same prices,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kalaba says his party shall strongly oppose the return of Vedanta Resources to run KCM because it ran down the mines and subjected employees, suppliers and contractors to misery.
The UPND government wants to settle the empasse over the ownership of KCM out of court so that it can resume normal operations by the return of Vedanta.