Running out of lies on the shortage of mealie meal in the country, Eastern province PF government provincial administration has now attributed the shortage of mealie-meal in the region to the constant power black-outs by ZESCO which affect production.
Provincial deputy permanent secretary, Zachariah Luhanga said the region has enough maize to feed the people but was having challenges because there was only one milling company in the entire province to produce and supply the commodity.
Mr. Luhanga noted that the milling company only had a few hours of milling the commodity due to electricity blackouts hence the shortage which was being experienced.
He was speaking when British High Commissioner to Zambia, James Thornton, paid a courtesy call on him in Chipata today.
Earlier, Mr. Thornton asked whether the province was also experiencing a shortage of mealie-meal.
“As a province we only have one milling company and the rest are hummer mills. One milling company cannot manage to feed the entire province, especially when it has few hours of production,’’ Mr. Luhanga said.
He said people were taking advantage of the shortage and increased the price, adding that, that was not accepted by government because there was a Presidential directive that the commodity should not be sold at more than K 50.00 per 25 kilogram bag.
And Chipata district commissioner Kalunga Zulu, who flanked Mr. Luhanga, said anything above K 50.00 as a price for mealie-meal was exploitation because government knew the production cost and what income the millers were making.
Meanwhile, Mr. Luhanga has asked the British High Commission to support eastern province in the tourism industry.
He said the region had two Paramount Chiefs with rich cultures and that the two major traditional ceremonies Nc’wala of the Ngoni people and Kulamba of the Chewa people attracted a lot of tourists.
And Mr. Luhanga said the provincial administration was relating well with opposition political parties.
He said politically, the region was stable, unlike in other provinces where there were squabbles.
Mr. Luhanga was responding to a question from British High Commissioner, James Thornton, who wanted to find out if there was a good transition when the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy ( MMD) handed power to the ruling Patriotic Front (PF).
He said the provincial administration was relating well with opposition political parties because the development that was going on in the province did not look at political inclinations.
“The President appointed three opposition political party Members of Parliament in the province to Ministerial positions and since their appointments, there has been cooperation because they speak for the development of the people,’’ Mr. Luhanga said.
The British High Commissioner is in Chipata to hold a series of meetings with different stakeholders.