GOVERNMENT says several steps are being taken to cushion the rampant smuggling of mealie meal in the neighbouring Malawi.
Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo said in an exclusive interview in Chipata over the weekend that apart from confiscating the commodity including the vehicles being used in the smuggling to be forfeited the state.
Mr Kasolo said this would be one of the remedy in stopping some unscrupulous people taking mealie meal across the borders.
He said the smuggling of mealie meal was creating artificial shortage in the country stating that Government would not allow such people to taking the commodity across.
“Some steps are being taken to ensure that the smuggling of mealie meal is stopped. Apart from confiscating the mealie meal, the trucks are going to be forfeited to the state,” he said.
He said Government was aware that some unscrupulous people who were involved in the smuggling of mealie meal into Malawi were doubling the prices in order to get the profit.
He said bigger trucks were currently making a profit of K50, 000 once they smuggle mealie meal into Malawi.
Mr Kasolo said Government was subsidising the maize to the Zambians not Malawians stating that millers who would be found wanting risked losing their licenses.
He said smuggling was always illegal saying business community should use the right channel in handling their businesses.
“Those maize which are now being milled as mealie meal were bought by FRA(the Food Reserve Agency) as a means to be consumed by Zambians as it is a subsidised one and these chaps are smuggling into Malawi in order to make double profit,” he said.
He said a combined team of security and defence officers were currently patrolling the border areas in order to stop the rampant smuggling.
Mr Kasolo said the joint operations committee have taken some steps to ensure that no one passes with mealie meal at the border.
He said 28 trucks were still marooned at Mwami border after being intercepted.
He said some decisions would be taken in order to allow Mota Engil to continue with the construction works on the road.