BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
Southern region members of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) have raised concern over what they termed “unfair and anti-competitive behaviour” shown by another member, National Foods Limited (NFL), which has allegedly secured subsidised maize outside of the association’s arrangement.
In a letter dated December 8, addressed to GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara, southern region members accused NFL of engaging government privately and securing half (20 000 tonnes) of the total subsidised maize allocation of 40 000 tonnes.
“We write to officially lodge our complaints and grievances as members of GMAZ southern region concerning unfair and anti-competitive behaviour exhibited by one of our members,” the letter read.
“GMAZ announced a subsidy for roller meal after successful negotiations with the government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Finance, and while we were waiting for the official notification that the subsidy had kicked in, we were surprised to discover that NFL had already started selling subsidised mealie-meal.
“Further, our investigations revealed that of the 40 000MT allocated under the subsidy scheme, NFL went and privately negotiated with ministry officials and secured an independent arrangement, outside the GMAZ arrangement. We also gathered that out of over 40 millers nationally, NFL secured 20 000MT, leaving the rest of the members to share 20 000MT.”
The disgruntled members questioned why NFL was getting preferential treatment, against policy, adding that failure to address the issue would lead to the closure of their businesses.
NFL chief executive officer Michael Lashbrooke requested emailed questions, but had not responded by the time of going to print last night.
GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza told NewsDay that they had not yet received the letter and could not comment on the issue.