GOVERNMENT has admitted its failure control the mealie meal black market being fueled by shortages in the face of hoarding and panic buying across the country.
Shortages of the staple food were triggered after government re introduced a subsidy on maize last year to contain runaway prices of mealie meal.
The subsidy resulted in the price of a 10 kg packet of roller meal falling from $106 to $50.
This control of prices in the face of shortages created gaps in the market opening room hoarding and resale of the product at higher prices on the black market at prices as high as 10kg of roller meal at $90- $100.
Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza admitted government could not put a stop to this saying people were difficult to control and deal with.
“Industry of commerce has got the systems that we have put in place for compliance, they are very clear, we are working very closely with the Confederation Retailers Association however a human being is very difficult to control, but as government we are doing what we know best together with our stakeholders,” said Nzenza.
She said there was need to stop hoarding to ensure that mealie meal is available for everyone.
“We must stop hoarding, we know there are people who buy mealie meal in large quantities and selling it at more than $50 per 10kg in the black market and this is why we have set the task force in Bulawayo to ensure that hoarding stops ,” she said.
Nzenza despite the current shortages inisitec that there was enough maize supplies for national consumption.
“We do have maize which will be enough to feed people on daily basis, I can reassure you and the public that we are not experiencing the lack of food because the importation program is moving well, on a daily basis maize is coming at the GMB, what I can not tell you right now is exact tonnage,” she said.