Lusaka - Zambia is considering
re-introducing price controls on its staple maize meal to protect consumers
from food inflation, state radio quoted President Michael Sata as saying on
The price of maize meal
has almost doubled to 80 000 kwacha ($15.41) per 25 kg bag from 45 000 kwacha
($8.67) two months ago and the government says the sharp increase is
Sata said the government
would bring back price controls it abolished in 1991 if millers maintained high
prices, the state-owned Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation reported.
"As government we
can re-introduce price controls if they (millers) don't stop exploiting
people," Sata said, according to the station.
The southern African
country subsidises maize production and buys the produce, which it then cheaply
supplies to millers in times of shortage to keep maize meal prices affordable.
Emmanuel Chenda this week said the high maize meal price was unjustified after
the government offloaded 112 000 tonnes of maize on the local market.
Chenda said some millers
who received subsidised maize from the government were selling maize meal to
neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) instead of supplying the local
Maize meal is the staple
of the Zambian diet that sustains poor households, so curbs on its price could
be have wide political support.
Zambia's inflation rate
accelerated to 7.3% year-on-year in December from 6.9% in
November, partly because of rising food prices.
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