People’s Party(PP) acting president Uladi Mussa has asked the government to immediately scrap off duty on maize and flour to allow more food in the hunger stricken country.
Recent press reports indicate Police and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) have tightened security in the border district of Mchinji to stop the importation of Zambian maize flour despite providing relief to scores of Malawians.
“It does not make sense to have such duty on food when the country is in dire food of the commodity. This shows this [Democratic Progressive Party –DPP] government has no direction,” said Mussa in a radio interview.
He said Zambians are bringing in maize and flour to help starving Malawians yet the government is busy slapping duty.
“I don’t know what sort of government we have. They want to make profits out of this tragic situation. They are like a grocer who want to make a profit out of a needle ha,ha,ha ha,” laughed off Mussa.
Malawi markets have lately been flooded with 25kg bags of maize flour imported from Zambia, which is being sold relatively cheaper than a 50kg bag of Malawian maize flour at K7,500 ($10) while local vendors were selling a 50kg bag of maize at K15,000 ($20).
Mussa said the duty is making the Zambian maize and flour more expensive beyond the reach of the majority struggling ordinary Malawians who are failing to access Admarc maize due to corruption and government sheer bad policy on the running of the state run grain company.
He said the opposition told the government to increase maize budget from K8 billion to K13 billion to avert this crisis.
“We told them in parliament to increase the allocation, we advised them that the money they allocated was too small, they didn’t want to listen to us, this is the result. This is the result when the government is run by amateurs,” said Mussa.
The government is blaming corrupt Admarc officials for the mess saying they are colluding witrh vendors to buy off all maize from Admarc depots.
Meanwhile, a fair trading agency, the Competition and Fair Trading has threatened to crack a whip on traders whom it says are deliberately hoarding maize in order to push the grain prices up.
Competition and Fair Trading’s executive director Sharlot Malonda said it is an offence to hoard any commodity with an aim of raising prices. Traders are selling a 50kg bag of maize at K18,000 in Blantyre and K14, 000 in Lilongwe. Admarc sells same bag at K5500.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :