Monday, June 24, 2024

HH says export of Maize by PF Government is Criminal Negligence

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UPND President Hakainde Hichilema  offload mealie meal at a shop in Linda compound
UPND President Hakainde Hichilema offload mealie meal at a shop in Linda compound

United party for National Development(UPND) Leader Hakainde Hichilema has said that it was absurd of Patriotic Front (PF) Government to allow the export of maize to neighbouring countries and later be forced to import it a higher price.

In a statement released to the media, the UPND leader demanded that the authorities immediately bring all those involved in what he described as maize export scandal to book, adding that this was criminal negligence and that there was nothing global about making foolish decisions.

Below is the full statement

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Economic Sabotage, Millions of Dollars Down the Drain- PF Maize Export Scandal

It is absurd of PF Government to allow the export of maize to neighbouring countries and later import it a higher price is just recklessness to say the least. Does it make sense that we exported maize at prices averaging US$200 and we will import at prices of about US$500? We thought the many u-turns that PF made were innocuous, but this has serious consequences on the health of this economy.

Maize is our staple food and it should be secured at all cost. The government has technocrats that advise them according to the available evidence. The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) warned about this dry spell in August 2015. At that point PF should have held back on the maize stocks which were about 3.3 million tons. The reason is simple, we consume 2.2 million tons of maize every year, meaning the excess should have been stored in view of the reduction in harvest for the 2015/16 season. But they went ahead and authorised the export of maize without due consideration.

Government is going to import not less than 1 million tons of maize at US$500 per ton. Money that this Government would have deployed to pay student allowances, provision of water, buy medicines in hospitals and invest in agriculture value addition so that we export soy oil and not soybeans, to export sunflower oil and not raw sunflower.

This decision of exporting maize will bring this country to its knees, watch the US$/Kwacha exchange rate go through the roof, further squeeze on youth employments, people losing jobs, the consequences are too ghastly to contemplate. We have warned PF on various issues and various occasions, but all the advice we have given has fallen on deaf ears.

There is nothing global about making foolish decisions. This is criminal negligence. One cannot put the lives of so many people at risk and not be accountable. We therefore demand that the authorities immediately bring all those involved in this maize export scandal to book. The absurdity of blaming all their shortcomings on global trends should stop. What global factors influenced the PF Government to export maize at the expense of its own citizens?

Hakainde Hichilema
UPND President

73 COMMENTS

  1. Tell them my President, PF had no vision. In the meantime this is your year to take over it won’t be long. Viva UPND and HH

    • And finally Lungu has officially conceded defeat that he cannot get the 50+1 effectively giving up. At least I commend him for being truthful on this one. Let vote wisely in August, UPND is the party of choice. Viva HH

    • PF Knew that they will re Import the same Maize at a higher price. Someone has made money for himself? check properly maybe the actual Import price is $350?? They have added some Dollars for themselves. RB and his Boys at work. Lungu is Dull. he cant pull such a scandal..

    • Thanks HH, time and again you have been reminding the PF govt not to expire maize. President Lungu has no capacity to be president. His decisions are condemning us to poverty and hunger. Why should we buy the same maize we sold at $200 at $500? How can this indeed be global. Kambwili tell us!

  2. OK I’m no fan of PF govt and its flip flop ‘standoff-for-nothing’ leader. But the condemnation of decisions after the fact by the main opposition party, UPND doesn’t help either. What’s the point of a ‘belated’ advice, if not to score cheap political points? Advise them before or during the implementation of a decision that you consider ‘f00lish’… that is what a good parallel leadership does. If they don’tl listen then you can tell them ‘we told you so’ (and that to me is bigger and better political points).

    • Advise them??? are you serious? How many times has HH advised Lungu on economical issues but only to fall on deaf ears.

    • @ Maverick: Many well meaning Zambians, including HH, voiced out against Govt exporting maize to neighbouring countries, but the Minister of Agriculture assured the nation not to worry as Zambia had enough maize in reserve. This was way back in July 2015. Do a news search on this very website, you will find the information.

    • Brave Maverick!! If HH was honest, he would pick up the phone or walk into state house to seek audience with EL behind closed doors. Don’t belittle PF to seek political mileage.

    • I stand corrected if the advice to stop exporting corn was given in real time by HH and the UPND. I never read the story, and the article makes it sound like this was the first time it was given. My bad if that wasn’t the case. My point in general is don’t wait up until things are worse before you issue a condemnation statement… do it before the fact.

    • @Maverick,please don’t expose your ignorance in public. Just google HH advise of maize..or HH and maize exports and read for yourself. It is better and wiser not to comment if you don’t anything

    • Dude, when Lubinda announced that they government intended to export maize HH immediately issued a comprehensive statement explaining why this was not a good idea. He even alerted these twits to the projected effects of El Nino. So my friend, this is not belated advice.

    • @Maverick. Go back to the time ECL made the decision to export maize. HH did advise and write against it. He even went further to advise that “if we have to export, let us at least do so value addition and gain more money”. As usual he was attacked as being “bitter”. In this case, he indeed is justified in saying: “l told you so”.

  3. Can HH tell us how much maize has been exported for us to fully appreciate what he is talking about. Otherwise, he is only making projections about what will be imported. This is not in anyway informative at all.

    • PF have refused to reveal any figures, even how much was raised by the exports. Either they don’t know or are hiding something as usual. I am sure if you push them kambwili will say matters of strategic food reserves are state secretes.

  4. The decision was sound. You expected Lungu to keep the maize till it rotted for fear of a drought?? What if there was no drought this year?

    Business is about taking risks. I applaud Lungu for this sound decision. Now HH is said to have business acumen??? Why can’t he see through this one?

    To me HH is just a desperate cheap charlatan. Who can insult him mum if that can get him votes…

    • @nyanin thats something a delusional person would say, what do you do when something is about to rot in your own house? Give your neighbor?

    • @Nyanin: Its strange that even in the face of looming hunger, you seem to support a wrong decision which was made. You may have enough money to support yourself and family but what about the millions of Zambians surviving on less than Us$1.00/ day? Obvisiously the price of mealie meal will go up if the landing cost of the imported maize is high, which might lead to more poverty for those who may not afford.

  5. @zedoc can you please update us on how far your government has reached with the Digital Migration program after borrowing a huge loan last year for DMP

  6. Sometimes I actually feel how HH feels. This past weekend, I spent hours just browsing through on African economies, cities ranking, cleanliness, poverty/wealth, modernization, rural development, GDP’s, inflation, hunger, education systems, infrastructure, currencies, mortality rate, diseases, etc, etc..

    I just felt like crying!!! Why dont our leaders take time to really see the suffering and hunger in the country and forget politics? Zambia is almost last in everything! From the fourth most powerful economy in Africa in the 60’s to this. I wont even lie, sometimes I feel ashamed to be called Zambian! Anyway, this is not even part of what the article is talking about.

  7. HH the Supreme Leader of the UPND does not understand how a Government operates. The best he can do is to see the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Given Lubinda and he will explain to him what was exported to avoid waste and what is still in the strategic reserves right now as well as what may be imported should the crop fail and should know that its not the whole country that will face the drought. His MPs are aware because they were told in parliament by the Minister of Agriculture. The supreme leader HH should not always paint his opponents black when they do not subscribe to his group think without proper analysis of issues otherwise he will be taken to be politicking as usual…

    • If we have strategic reserves, why are we importing? And why would maize rot if we have storage facilities for which PF borrowed heavily to build, or was that money stolen and we have no storage facilities??

    • Did you take time to listen and watch the sad face the Minister of Agriculture was wearing yesterday on ZNBC 19.00 hours news? To me his face told a million unspoken words. I got very very worried.

  8. advise is not given in form of insults or as if u knw it all….an example is how General Miyanda petitioned lungu on the constitution with points and not insults…….which in many cases ba upnd thinks PF does not listern to their advise as opposition because they just insult the head of state……i think its not a foolish decision wen u plan for the future bcoz as a country we are not yet importing maize but the situation is shud the rainfall pattern continue as it is (even an under five child has seen this) then the likelyhood of importing maize is high and can not be overlooked…..we all knw that the reserve capacity of maize in zambia cannot take us for 3seasons if it has not rained well..we rely on rainfall for food, rainfall for hydro power, rainfall for the economy if i may put…

    • Did Lungu change the Constitution because Miyanda asked him to? How much respect and attention did Miyanda get from the PF crooks?

    • @Makasa. Koma nimwe achizende! Look at HH’s write up on why govt should not export maize and point to a single insult.
      Besides, if l really care about running the country, l will not mind how the advice comes. Sata was very harsh when opposing Levy, but Levy got the good in the criticism and implemented it. It made him a better leader. “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”!

  9. Edgar himself said ,we are likely going to face hunger hence the need for us to import maize before the country plunges into total hunger,but first why export when technocrats from met dept a dvised way back that we are likely going to experience Elnino. No vision electorates continue to support visionless leaders.

  10. Bwana hh where were you when they were exporting this maize? I truly believe that you were in the country and you never said anything because the govt indicated that we actually had a lot of maize surplus. Today because we don’t have good rains that’s when you want gain cheap political mileage by condemning the govt for exporting maize. This is pure hypocrisy of the highest order and people are watching your movements.
    You don’t take advantage of the situation in this manner.

    • Are you sure you never saw or read statements where HH warned government against exporting maize? Check out this statement he issued last year in October

      PRESS RELEASE
      The Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) have warned about an increase in mealie meal prices. This has been attributed to rising production costs and reduced quantities of the maize grain on the market. It is strange that we have a maize shortage on the market after Given Lubinda assured us that we have enough maize. But we cautioned Lubinda at the time. The first mistake was that PF offered farmers 75 kwacha per bag that is,1500 kwacha a ton or US$120 at the current exchange rate. What the PF did not realise as they ignored us yet again was that the informal traders had found a market which was offering them…

    • God for the calamities that have befallen the country. Nature and calamities will always be there, that is why people build houses that insulate themselves from nature. The same applies to a country, what if we do not have rainfall this year, what will happen?

      We really wonder how the majority Zambians will now survive with the ever raising cost of living coming at time when the mines are laying off workers, industries are closing; many are losing jobs and yet there is no action from those in leadership to address the situation.

      On mealie meal, we have always advised on the need for those in Government to improve production methods to improve productivity so that maize becomes cheaper to produce. We have largely been ignored. We have proposed value addition to our maize grain so…

    • The idea of strategic reserves is to see the country through incase the next planting season fails as is the case. You don’t sell your reserves before you know if you will survive the next cycle.

  11. HH is right and it is hard to disagree with him on this one. Maize imported from distant Brazil is not going to be cheap compared to what we exported. Govt has be cagey about the amount of maize we have in stock and how much was authorized for export!! In fact before allowing full blown exports we needed to get crop forecasts at say this time of the year and then we were going to be in a better position to know if at all we were supposed to export any maize!Government has access to all information and technocrats who can explain how much we consume as a nation per day and using crop forecasts they were going to know what would be there by the coming harvest season to know how much to export. Not this confusion! HH is very right,it is criminal indeed!!

    • It is corruption by PF and their middlemen. They saw a chance to make some money by exporting the countries reserves hoping for good rains to cover up their corruption.

  12. was offering them US$200/ton. This let to massive exports by both formal and informal means. These are things we brought to the attention of the Minister but he ignored us.

    This price increase comes at a time when ZESCO is also proposing an increase on electricity tariffs. This will further increase production costs in addition to costs attributed to on-going massive electricity load shedding.

    We have been advising the PF leaders for sometime now that they need to stop maize exports and first check the national consumption levels. The food national balance sheet looks good on paper, but there is no maize on the ground. They keep asking for alternative policies which we have been giving them regularly but they just ignore everything we say and later blame nature and God for the…

  13. You have two pairs of trousers, you sell one to yuor friend,the one you remained with starts getting weaker on the buttocks.You go back to your friend and ask him if he could help,he sells you the same pants at a higher price !!

    • Nice one!
      Especially when you knew with a fair amount of certainty that the buttocks will push through in no time. Pa Zed pa drama.

      a’Lungu a kangiwa!

  14. God for the calamities that have befallen the country. Nature and calamities will always be there, that is why people build houses that insulate themselves from nature. The same applies to a country, what if we do not have rainfall this year, what will happen?

    We really wonder how the majority Zambians will now survive with the ever raising cost of living coming at time when the mines are laying off workers, industries are closing; many are losing jobs and yet there is no action from those in leadership to address the situation.

    On mealie meal, we have always advised on the need for those in Government to improve production methods to improve productivity so that maize becomes cheaper to produce. We have largely been ignored. We have proposed value addition to our maize grain so…

  15. GOOD chosen one ,now who looks stupid and continues to condemn nature .visionless electorates continue to support visionless drunkards.

  16. Where were you when Lungu and his minions were mocking HH for advising them NOT to export the maize as late as I recall July or so 2015.

    The PF tribal crew went in the usual ballistic insuring default mode…..saying HH was bitter, under 5, regional, etc.

    My advice to Lungu and his minions is that whilst he is a failed lawyer and bar owner, he could have succeeded if he had listened to advice!

  17. If you remember, PF borrowed money for the construction of silos/storage in all provinces, so how can maize meant for back up of next year rot? Unless nothing was built and that money was stolen. Also, what are strategic reserves, correct me if I am wrong, but I thougt those reserves were meant as back up incase the next planting season fails as is the case now?? How do you sell your reserves if you don’t know weather next season will fail.

    • @Patrick,spot on! We heard of various sums of money borrowed from China and part of the Eurobond to construct storage sheds for strategic reserves in all provinces so why should we run out storage space for these reserves and export what we actually need? This is where we need to see unity in the opposition ranks and civil society to take this government to task!!

  18. A seating govt should have the ability to formulate and act from a philosophical perspective. A combination of these unresolved economic failures and disputes may be the hat-trick that HH will use to send the PF govt parking.

  19. HH is fishing from a dry rock. We know that Southern Province is one of the regions, along with Central and Eastern Provinces, which contributes to the growing of maize in Zambia. As a national leader and an economist, he should have assessed or predicted the impending maize shortfall in the country. If indeed he has a large farm himself, what quantity of maize has he (HH) stocked to help offset a national maize deficit so as to avert the starvation of his people – the Zambians?

  20. WHY HH CAN’T BE PRESIDENT.
    =========================

    Political party presidents do not indulge in the spread of propaganda, they uphold the integrity in politics. For example, Edgar Lungu doesn’t participate in petty bickering and rumour mongering, he instead chooses right action over words.
    The PF Government introduced a fund that uses a loan system to empower marketeers, traders and other people who own SMEs. The fund is not extravagant. Instead it is given out in manageable amounts that can be paid back to the fund and used to empower budding entrepreneurs in other areas. The initiative was well received and many children have gone back to school, debts have been repaid,failed businesses have been resuscitated and people are seeing hope all as a result of the fund.

    On the…

  21. If you check your history from as far as the days of KK, exporting maize was only done at the start of a new harvest. Government only sold older maize stocks to give space for freshly harvested stocks. It is only in 2915 we had a government export maize where there were no fresh stocks to replace it. This is the reason we are importing our own maize (though likely to be yellow) within the same harvest season. HH, like every other politician, is politicking. However, behind the politicking is the reality that Zambia will be importing yellow maize from Brazil.

  22. Very dull indeed y talk abt hh’s. Private undertakings wen your useless leader chasedone nothing at individual level?

  23. Out of 48 comments, only 01 is from within Zambia. The landscape has changed. Only those is foreign missions still appreciate PF and are the only ones who find it difficulty to appreciate HH… Who is the voter…….? US.

  24. Some stupid upnd symphysis has advised HH that government is cutting off exporting maize then he comes ati he is giving advice. This guy is just a chancer

    • @Mj Banda you are a clueless moron who belongs to the rubbish bin.You mean to tell me that you can support a government that will subject us to yellow maize meant to feed pigs and horses and yet we had enough stocks of maize from the last harvest to feed ourselves which they sold..id.iot kolwe

  25. If you look closely you will find lungu was convinced to sell off the reserves by his corrupt gang of PF crooks. They gambled that there was bound to be good rains, and decided to cash in as individuals. lubinda did not even tell us how much was made when he was boasting about bringing in forex through maize exports.
    Just like how they gambled on good rains and other power plants comming on line while they were stealing the unaccounted for $500 million kariba rehab borrowed monies.

  26. Mr President HH I hear you are an Economist and I know that maize has its life span and you cannot store maize for the next 2 seasons without it going to waste. So it is important to export and import flesh maize for next season. Mr. HH we are not animals who can eat rotten maize.

    • The yellow maize coming from Brazil is meant for pigs and horses…who is the animal now iwe kolwe.Maize can be stored for two seasons as long as the conditions in the storage sheds are moisture free.The government borrowed huge sums of money to build such sheds throughout the country.Just shut up if you are clueless.

    • who said we should store maize for 2 years ? how is last seasons maize meant for this seasons strategic reserves, that was sold, 2 years old ??? learn to count.

  27. There was NEVER that much maize. Yes, fictitious maize was purchased at the remote depots and Lubinda made the decision to export based on the theoretical maize that should have been in stock in Isoka. Chama etc. now we are discovering that those tons of maize arent there and we face a complete crisis by April/May.

    The scammers at the depots are saying maize got rotten in heavy rains that flooded the storage slabs. So they threw it away. So nobody can tally stocks to check how much of the shortage can be explained by rotten bag stocks

  28. HH you need correction;

    1) export price was $155 not $200
    2) we will need 700,000 tons to be imported not 1,000,000 tons. Based on ZNFU estimate.
    3) there is maize in south america but its all GMO.
    4) import cost is $535 not $500
    5) no port can cope with 700,000 tons of maize and no transporter can give you that many trucks
    6). We still need to quantify stock feed import requirements
    7). You need to import more cooking oil and more flour
    8). The govt is in for a rude shock if they expect farmers to sell them maize at K75 this year. Already in malawi and zimbabwe uts K184 per bag so smugglers will have a merry christmas. Brace yourselves for mealie meal shortages

  29. Forget El Nino, I Predict heavy unexpected rain. If you of faith Pray thus and you will be amazed at the miracle. All maize worries will go away for harvest 2016, 2017.

    • KK once said about the MMD government: “They have elecated naivete to the level of Government policy”! The PF govt is far worse. These have elevated corruption and theft to the level of govt policy. Kuwayawaya fye.

  30. Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda needs to come out clear on this one. Key consideration to this accusation is Zambia’s maize storage capacity

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