The government is not going to subsidise the price of the maize it is importing from Zambia and South Africa. In fact, Zimbabweans must now realise that the time for free or cheap things is over.
This was said by the deputy Minister of Agriculture Paddy Zhanda in response to a question from Zvimba East legislator Francis Mukwangwariwa who had asked whether the government could reduce the price of imported maize from US$25 to US$15 so that people could afford it.
Zhanda said there was not going to be any subsidy because this was not budgeted for. The government was not only trying to recover the full cost of importing the maize but also wanted a small profit of about 9 percent.
“It is important that as politicians, we must inculcate the idea that the issue of probing for free things or cheap things is not going to be the government policy going forward.
“It is important that at any juncture like this, if people are faced with the issue of food shortage, they must also look at selling their goats and cattle in order to buy food,” he said.
Question and answer:
*MR. MUKWANGWARIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. Is there anything that they can do about the prices of maize that they are importing from Zambia and South Africa to make sure that prices come down from $25.00 to $15.00 so that people in the rural areas, especially from Zvimba, will be able to buy?
MR. ZHANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the hon. member for the opportunity that he has given me to explain in more detail about the maize. I think hon. members must be aware that, any form of subsidy, somebody has to pay for it. If it is not budgeted for, as you will see that the House approved the 2014 budget recently and in that budget there were no subsidies. Therefore, as Government, the policy is to recover fully the cost of the importation of maize with a small percentage as a mark up, about 9%.
It is important that as politicians, we must inculcate the idea that the issue of probing for free things or cheap things is not going to be the Government policy going forward. It is important that at any juncture like this, if people are faced with the issue of food shortage, they must also look at selling their goats and cattle in order to buy food. I am afraid, I think the question is coming from hon. Members of Parliament who want to advocate for free goods and cheap goods so that they can be voted for again as Members of Parliament. I thank you.