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Govt must commercialise GMB: CZI

Business
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) has urged the government to commercialise the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), while ensuring that the vulnerable population is fed through subsidised grain.

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) has urged the government to commercialise the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), while ensuring that the vulnerable population is fed through subsidised grain.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

Appearing before the budget and finance committee to speak on 2017 National Budget, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry (CZI) vice-president Sifelani Jabangwe said GMB’s prices were sub economic, thereby distorting market prices and introducing an uneven playing field.

He said GMB could feed vulnerable groups through a targeted system such as issuing coupons.

“Commercial activities of maize milling by the GMB (should also be introduced) in which market forces determine pricing levels through demand and supply,” Jabangwe said.

He said there was need to revitalise the maize value chain and eliminate market inefficiencies.

In his 2016 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa said GMB was buying maize from farmers at $390 per tonne, while private players were paying prices of between $240 and $350.

Chinamasa said this practice was creating arbitrage opportunities, perpetuating inefficiencies, and unnecessarily burdening the fiscus.

GMB is in the business of commodity trading in cereals and oil seeds, the provision of logistic services to the agricultural industry as well as processing of products.

Its main objective is to ensure national food security through production, procurement and management of strategic grain reserves.