Zimbabwe is owed more than US$3 million by Zambia for maize delivered about 10 years ago, according to the Herald newspaper of Zimbabwe.
Grain Marketing Board general manager Mr Albert Mandizha told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water and Resettlement on Tuesday that the debt, which was US$1,8 million before interest, was being discussed by the countries’ Attorneys-General. The committee, chaired by Chikomba Central House of Assembly Member Mr Moses Jiri (MDC-T), had asked Mr Mandizha about the debt which was accrued during Cde Kumbirai Kangai’s tenure as Lands and Agriculture Minister when Zimbabwe produced surplus maize.
Mr Mandizha told the committee that Zambia had paid part of the original debt and the issue was before Zambian courts. “Attorneys-General for both countries are currently working on the issue. The issue is still alive; we are still pursuing it. The issue has also been delayed after the Zambian Attorney-General’s term of office expired with a new person coming in but discussions are still continuing,” Mr Mandizha said. He said the change of leadership in the Zambian government could also have contributed to the delays.
The GMB boss, however, expressed optimism that Zimbabwe would recover the money. Mr Mandizha called for the re-capitalisation of the parastatal to ensure that it fully discharges its mandate.
Committee members implored the grain utility to monitor the use of Government inputs given to farmers at subsidised prices.
The legislators had expressed concern over abuse of Government input schemes with some seed and fertiliser finding their way onto the informal market.