THE Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and the National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) are currently in discussions with the central bank for the immediate provision of foreign currency to settle all outstanding wheat imports payments.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
This development followed a hint by bakers of a looming increase in the price of bread, with bakers blaming the lack of United States dollars needed to purchase flour products outside the country. As a result, the bakers were incurring 12% exchange rate losses and high service fees when they sell euros, pounds, and rands to pay for dollar invoices.
In a statement yesterday, GMAZ national chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara assured consumers that the price of bread would not increase on account of flour costs.
“Through the two associations namely GMAZ and NBAZ, millers and bakers are jointly in negotiations with the central bank, seeking an immediate availing of foreign currency to settle all outstanding wheat imports payments. This, we are confident, will be settled in the next few days,” he said.
“Consequently, the milling industry wishes to advise that supply of flour, and by extension supply of bread, will remain more than adequate and consumers must not be worried. Secondly, prices will not go up on the account of costs of flour.”
Musarara said GMAZ remained committed to continue engaging the government and other stakeholders to ensure that the supply and prices of various staples GMAZ produces remained favourable and adequate.
He said NBAZ and GMAZ proposed the central bank provides $43,25 million to settle all outstanding wheat invoices to sustain the current bread prices. He said local funding was available to pay for the nostro currency. The associations said this will stop finance cost from accruing on operations.
NBAZ and GMAZ proposed that RBZ should make available $16 million every month for wheat and bread ingredients importation, including the logistical cost from now up to October.