Millers Association of Zambia President Allan Sakala said in an interview that the Millers are not pleased that Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda addressed Parliament on mealie meal prices without giving the Association an audience first.
Mr Sakala said the statement from Mr Lubinda that there is no justification for increases in mealie meal prices are unjustified is insincere.
He said the Millers should be free to cost their products independently since Mr Lubinda has confirmed that Government has no hand in setting prices of commodities.
He said members of the public are free to go and audit the cost input for Millers.
Mr Sakala said the overall cost of production for the Millers has gone up significantly.
And some mealie meal traders in Lusaka have gone ahead and increased the price of the commodity by between K10.00 to K15.00 despite the Millers Association of Zambia putting on hold its planned increase in prices to allow for consultations with government.
A check by Qfm at Kabwata, Chilenje, Kalingalinga and Mutendere Markets revealed that a 25kg bag of breakfast mealie meal is now selling at between K78.00 and K80.00 from K65 and K64 respectively.
A 25 kg bag of roller mealie meal is now selling at K58 from the previous K48 representing an increase of K10.
Meanwhile the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has noted with concern the Millers Association of Zambia’s continued behavior of agreeing and subsequently announcing the increase in mealie meal prices.
CCPC public relations officer Hanford Chaaba says the conduct violates Section 8 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act no. 24 of 2010 which is clearly against the idea of concerted practices or decision by players.
Mr. Chaaba says such announcements by the Millers Association signals and creates anticipation which often is unnecessary and contrary to public interest.
He says the Commission will not sit idle but will investigate the matter and where a case is found, punitive measures will be mated out on the Association and its members.