The Zambian Government has implemented a statutory instrument that suspends the duty on imported mealie meal, when imported by a holder of an import permit issued by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The measure is aimed at addressing the shortage of mealie meal in some parts of the country and is expected to increase the availability of the commodity.
The suspensionn of duty on imported mealie meal is part of the Customs and Excise (Suspension) (Maize (Corn) Flour) Regulations, 2023, which were gazetted and came into operation on 6th April, 2023.
This measure is expected to stabilize mealie meal prices and ensure that citizens have access to affordable food.
In recent months, citizens have been queuing for hours to buy a bag of mealie meal.
The shortage has led to high prices, with a bag of mealie meal fetching a minimum of K250.
Many citizens are frustrated and angry over the situation, which they believe is due to government officials and aligned ruling party businessmen engaging in smuggling activities.
To address the shortage, the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has offloaded 5,000 bags of mealie meal in the Copperbelt Province.
The ZNS will continue to supply mealie meal to the province every week to help address the shortage of the commodity.
Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo announced that a task force has been put in place to curb the rampant smuggling of mealie meal in the province.
The task force has impounded over 15,000 bags of mealie meal and confiscated over 70 vehicles used in smuggling activities.
Mr. Matambo urged citizens to be vigilant and report any illegal activity related to mealie meal smuggling.
The suspension of duty on imported maize flour is expected to stabilize the prices of mealie meal and ensure that citizens have access to affordable food.