Following stakeholder concerns that some local business people will effect price increases after government set a 10 to 25% import duty for some basic foodstuffs like maize-meal and cooking oil in the mid-term budget, the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe has said there are no looming price hikes for maize meal.
The millers association which is part of industry groups that lobbied for the re-introduction of duty on basic commodities said the lessening of imports will give local products more market space and room to revive operations.
Grain Milers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara, said criticism of the re-introduction of duty is misplaced as imports caused many grain millers to shut down due to unfair competition.
â€œWe feel that this duty is going to decrease the amount of imports coming in so that weâ€™ll be able to go and mop up the grain thatâ€™s available at a viable price and then mill it for our economy. We also want to state that there will be no price increases from the milling industry unless the actual price of maize itself increases,â€ said Mr. Musarara.
Import duty was removed for basic commodities to mitigate food shortages and high inflation which faced the country. Calls for protection have however increased as capacity utilisation has improved in industry from below 20% in 2008 to between 40 and 50%.
However, consumers have lost trust in local business people who are yet to wean themselves from the notorious culture of hiking prices whenever there is less competition.