GOVERNMENT has increased the price of the subsidised roller meal to $70 from $50, amid the scarcity of the maize meal in major retail shops.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced the price adjustment in a statement yesterday.
“In December 2019, government introduced a roller meal subsidy pegged at $50 per 10kg bag in order to protect the vulnerable groups.
“In view of the above…. the government has reviewed upwards the subsidised price from $50 to $70 per 10kg bag of roller meal against the prevailing market price of the product. Implementation of the new subsidy price is with immediate effect,” he said.
The subsidy on maize meal was restored by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November last year to guarantee citizens cheaper basic foodstuffs and cushion them against the obtaining economic challenges.
However, the cheap roller meal has hardly made it into the shops. It has been channelled onto the black market where it has been fetching up to $140.
The announcement of the new price of the subsidised roller meal came as the National Business Council of Zimbabwe (NBCZ) and millers were meeting to discuss the alleged abuse of the roller meal subsidy programme.
NBCZ executive chairman Keith Guzah has blamed the shortage of subsidised roller meal on the lack of transparency and the inefficiencies in the implementation of the programme.
“Currently, there is no roller meal in the shops, leaving the generality of our people who survive on this staple food starving or scrounging for decently priced alternatives.
“Accountability is key in restoring confidence in our people. Gone are the days where people hide in their high offices, totally oblivious as to what is happening on the ground,” he said then.
But Industry minister Sekai Nzenza, whose ministry has created a taskforce to address the leakages leading to shortages, however, attributed the shortages to failure by millers to mill maize in December.