President Hakainde Hichilema has pledged the government’s commitment to working together with the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) to ensure that the cost of doing business in the industry is lowered.
And President Hichilema indicated during a meeting with the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) at State House in Lusaka that corruption is a cost to the milling business though sometimes taxes may also be a contributing factor.
He said there is need to create an attractive environment for doing business by getting the environment right through consultative processes such as the meeting held yesterday.
The President added that the environment for doing business should also be stable and consistent.
He said it is important that government and MAZ work together to regain the market that has been lost due to the ban of exports.
“We want your capacity to be utilised, work with us to assess the market,” the President said.
The President said that among its administration’s primary core is to put policies that will enable millers in the country to meet the country’s consumption requirement every year.
He further emphasised on the need to deal with issues of open market to export without affecting the national food security.
“We don’t want to ban exports but we need to assure food security amidst exports, so let’s work together,” the President indicated.
And the Head of State has also urged the Millers to be able to buy raw materials from the available market without waiting for the Food Reserve Agency to offload it to them.
“Maintain the relationship and business you have with FRA but when you find other available market for raw materials go ahead and buy,” he advised.
President Hichilema said he will soon visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he is expected to have more discussions concerning the available market to that country.
The President also disclosed that he will on November 20th, 2021 confer with his Botswana Counterpart where they will hold discussions on market for stock feed.
He has since challenged the millers to also use their capacity to produce stock feed and take advantage of the market that will be created in the neighbouring country.
“We will access the market but you must manufacture. Use part of your capacity to produce stock feed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Millers Association of Zambia President, Andrew Chintala assured President Hichilema of his Association’s commitment to work with government in improving the business for the industry.
Mr Chintala also commended the Head of State and his administration for allowing exports of mealie meal and maize saying the move was unprecedented.
He added that the country has already started experiencing the benefits of banning the export of maize and mealie meal.
“We lost market share in DRC as a result of untimely export ban at an expense of food security,’ he said.
Mr Chintala noted that it was unfortunate that fears around exports were based on national food security which largely impacted negatively on the business as most traders closed back completely and have not returned.