The escalating mealie meal price in the country will lead to the increase in inflationary rate, says Professor Oliver Saasa.
Prof. Saasa said the continued price hikes in mealie meal is as a result of lack of clear economic policy by the Patriotic Front (PF) government.
Pro. Saasa’s told Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that the government is not clear on its macro-economic measure of the staple food.
Prof Oliver Saasa has challenged Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga not to make price pronouncements on mealie meal which he did not economically understand.
Mr. Sichinga recently said the current mealie-meal prices were unjustified as there was enough maize in the country and urged the millers to reduce their prices.
He said mealie meal price pronouncement is a macroeconomic measure which should be made by the president or the Minister of Finance.
He further wondered why the president was quite on the issue affecting the entire nation adding that the president was very busy, the chief government spokesperson could give a cabinet position on the issue.
Prof Saasa has since advised the PF government to clearly state its position on the country’s economic market structure.
He said it is wrong for the government to control mealie meal price after removing subsidies on Maize and fuel.
“The increase in the price of mealie meal is not as a result of scarcity of the commodity but lack of proper distribution in the country, he said.”
He also said the delay by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to pay farmers on time has forced them to sell their maize to private milling companies.
“And because government wants to control the price of mealie meal, millers are therefore forced to hold on to their maize hence shortage on the market, Pro Saasa said.
But the Millers Association of Zambia has explained that it was difficult for them to reduce prices as they were buying maize at a higher rate and that their mark-up was marginal to sustain their business.