Roller meal prices back to normalcy

by Shongedzai Mugwagwa

It was all smiles for the consumers when finally roller meal prices have come down following a recent Government move to reintroduce grain subsidies to make the staple food affordable for everyone.

Yesterday, The Harare Post spoke to some consumers who thanked Government for its decision to intervene on the matter.

This publication also sighted hordes of consumers lining up in Harare CBD at various retail shops grinning as it turned the retailers had took heed of Government’s decision.

“We are so very happy that we now have a 10kg bag costing $50. If you remember, this bag was last year going for $100 which was far beyond our reach,” said one consumer who declined to be identified.

The decision first was met with challenges of non-compliance by some retailers who decided to ignore the mark up pricing thereby forcing the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) to threaten with licence withdrawal to non-compliant retailers.

Tafadzwa Musarara an official from the GMAZ said, “The price reduction exercise on Roller Meal pursuant to the newly introduced Roller Meal subsidy is now on going nationwide, albeit on fast track basis.

“We are requesting Wholesalers and Retailers nationwide to contact their respective millers, who supplied them with the roller meal products, obtain Credit Notes on the current invoices, obtain new invoices at maximum prices of ZWD45.00 per 10kg and sell at the maximum retail prices of ZWD50.00 per 10KG.

“The prices of other pack sizes (5kg and 20kg) prices should be calculated pro-rata. These prices must be applied in all shops,” he said.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week said Government was funding grain procurement at market prices and selling the same to registered maize millers to ensure availability and affordability of the staple.

“This model will create fiscal space for treasury to finance other social protection programmes,” said Minister Mthuli Ncube.

“In this regard, the new subsidy model will therefore target the production of roller meal resulting in the retail price of ZWL$50 for a 10 kg bag.”

GMAZ acknowledged that there was a low reception to Government’s decision and shortages have been severe since only eight of the 61 millers had been receiving the special maize allocations for milling into roller meal.

The switch from a general grain subsidy to a particular product subsidy was meant to ensure that market prices prevailed throughout the system, except on the wholesale and retail prices of the actual subsidised product, thus removing market distortions that led to widespread cheating and inefficiencies.