THE Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) is shocked by the continued shortages of Mealie meal and its ever escalating prices the nation has ever experienced. The only precedence was the experience in one party state of Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
FFTUZ president Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has challenged government to immediately find a lasting solution to the shortages of mealie meal when the country is boasting of enough maize grain in reserves.
She said the price controls government has decreed were affecting milling companies negatively and that it was not surprising that such controlled prices were failing to stabilize the stocking of mealie meal.
She said the price controls should have died with the one party state era and that its introduction was having disadvantages on production.The era of the black market she said was slowly coming back with unscrupulous businessmen and traders taking advantage of the situation and buying the commodity from retailers and re-selling on the black market.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said in an interview that it was dangerous that the prices of the staple food should continue to rise because this could easily lead to unrest in the country.”We are shocked that there are mealie meal shortages in the country. We are wondering because many Zambians are involved in farming and are being told that the country has more than enough maize grain. Government must find a quick and lasting solution to this problem because it is the majority of the poor Zambians who are suffering,” Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said.
She wondered why smuggling of mealie meal has become the main cause of the commodity shortages when such kind of trading has been going on for the last twenty years. “Why is it happening now when in more than twenty years, this country had never experienced such shortages? Now we hear people are queuing for mealie meal and others are even sleeping outside mealie meal outlets waiting for the commodity. Surely government should be concerned about this because it is just unacceptable,” Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said.