Moribund and ailing Zambian dictator’s government president Michael Sata has again added more misery to the Zambian population within a space of one week, this time by removing the maize subsidies that will lead to an immediate price increase on the price of the staple food mealie meal.
And University of Zambia (UNZA) students immediately matched to the privately owned Muvi TV station to protest against the new punitive measure by the PF government that promised to lower people’s living conditions.
The placard carrying UNZA students stormed Muvi TV studios chanting anti-government slogan.
Meanwhile, in a clear case of lack of cohesion in the crumbling PF government, Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga has again reversed the reversed ban on maize exports as the PF cadres have exported all the maize to neighbouring countries.
Mr. Sichinga, who announced the removal of the maize subsidies said it is not practical to subsidise the cost of the staple food beyond the existing maize concessions from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
He said government is already subsidising the cost of mealie mealie through the off-loading of cheaper maize stocks from FRA to the millers.
Sata’s cabinet, which is the largest and possibly the most expensive in Africa, has been a huge drain on the national coffers, coupled by the huge number of by-elections that have been corruptly created in order to achieve the one party state.
Even before the removal of the maize subsidies, the retail prices of mealie-meal had been projected to reach KR70 per bag as millers are still awaiting the government’s response to have prices adjusted upwards following a 21 per cent increase in fuel costs.
A 25-kilogramme bag of mealie-meal currently costs KR55 on average, but the with removal of both the fuel and maize subsidies, the prices are likely to reach well over KR85 to KR90 in milling areas but this might be way above KR100 in outlying areas of the country due to transport costs.
This sudden increase on prices of foods, fuels and other commodities does not take into account another projected increase that may come as a result of electricity tariffs that Zesco is determined to effect anytime soon.
And Millers Association of Zambia president Allan Sakala told the PF Post newspaper that the projected lower maize yield may put further pressure on millers if no stringent measures are put in place to monitor the flow of maize and mealie-meal across borders.
According to the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), the maize harvest for the 2012/2013 farming season is estimated at 2.47 million tonnes compared to over three million tonnes harvested in the previous farming season.
Annual consumption is about 1.2 million metric tonnes so since they (ZNFU) have announced 2.4 million metric tones, fears that gripped the masses that there would be no sufficient food are gone.
And with Home affairs Minister Edgar Lungu no longer acting in the position of the moribund ailing dictator president Sata, Agriculture Minister Sichinga again today announced that the maize export ban he had effected when Mr. Sata was away in South Korea has again been effected.
It is so far not clear who Mr. Sichinga has consulted this time around as the PF cabinet never meets and most of the ministers are busy loitering around the world with some busy in the country gallivanting for PF induced by-elections making huge allowances accompanied by with large entourages.
Mr. Sichinga one morning woke-up and took advantage of the absent Mr. Sata and effected a ban on maize exports, only for his decision to be reversed by then acting president Edgar Lungu same day afternoon, but the same decision has again been effected this evening, and may probably be reversed by the time Zambians wake-up tomorrow morning.