The subsidised mealie-meal remains unavailable in Bulawayo supermarkets, a development that has left members of the public questioning the government’s commitment to the cause.
Last Thursday Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube announced a new subsidy on maize meal that would see the retail price of a 10kg bag of roller meal being pegged at ZWL$50 down from between ZWL$95 and ZWL$105.
“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 10kg bag,” said Ncube.
“The payment modalities for the new targeted subsidy for the roller have been discussed and agreed with Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), whose members have 95 percent of the roller meal market. The implementation of the subsidy is with immediate effect.”
Despite assurance by the government that the commodity prices had been reduced, shops in Bulawayo have maintained the old prices.
On Friday, a day after the announcement, the commodity was still not available at the promised prices much to the disappointment of residents who were looking forward to buying it at a reduced price.
It was the same story on Saturday and Sunday.
However, on Sunday, GMAZ national chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara said price reduction exercise on roller meal was on-going nationwide on a 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,” he said.
“The prices of other pack sizes (5kg and 20kg) prices should be calculated pro-rata. These prices must be applied in all shops by 3pm this Sunday, 08 December 2019.”
But a visit to major retail outlets in the city Monday showed that nothing had changed on the ground since the Finance Minister’s announcement.
“Nothing has changed because that cheap mealie-meal cannot be found anywhere,” complained one resident.
“The government must tell us where we can get that mealie-meal. If it is at State House, they must say so, and then we can go and queue there.”