KITWE District Commissioner (DC) Chanda Kabwe has warned millers against creating artificial shortages of mealie meal by exporting the commodity to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before satisfying the local market.
Mr Kabwe said millers who were exporting mealie meal to DRC before they could satisfy the local market would face the wrath of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government because people were always blaming the Government for the shortage of the commodity in the district.
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon when he toured Mpongwe Milling plant in Kitwe, Mr Kabwe said Government was now giving electricity 24 hours to the millers for them to operate at full capacity.
He said millers should therefore not abuse the gesture by using local electricity to produce mealie meal for export to DRC when Zambians did not have enough stocks.
“Government has given millers electricity on 24hour basis so that they can operate to full capacity. Do not abuse this gesture by using our electricity to produce mealie meal to export to DRC. Flood the local market before you export to DRC. I will impound your truck if I find it taking mealie meal to DRC,” Mr Kabwe said.
And speaking earlier during the tour, Mpongwe Milling representative, Stuart Kearns said his company had bought two gensets at K4million to deal with the problem of load-shedding which it was experiencing in the recent past.
“We have invested more than K4million on these two Gensets and we are sure that they will help us in times of load-shedding. Before load-shedding, our full capacity production was 5,000 tonnes, but not this has reduced reduced to 4,000tonnes,” he said
“With our new Gensets, I am sure, we will go back to our full production capacity of 5,000 tonnes provided we do not have shortage of fuel. Well, so far, load-shedding has not been as serious as it used to be, but then you can’t rely on that, you have to come up with a contigency plan. I mean we have to be as pro-active as possible,” Mr Kearns said.
At H.M milling, Mr Kabwe said he was impressed that the milling company has always been trying its best to meet the demands of the local market as opposed to exporting the mealie-meal to the DRC.
“Government will do its best to create a conducive environment for you to produce affordable mealie meal for the people in the district. We want you to always flood the local market and it is good that H.M milling is trying its best to meet the demand of the local market. This is good, keep it up,” He said.