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Packaging Suppliers Put Under Spotlight

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) Chairman Tafadzwa Musarara has hinted at approaching the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to ring-fence allocation of foreign currency for basic commodities including flour, rice, salt and bread to guard against diversion to less important items like sweets and biscuits.

Addressing journalists soon after meeting packaging suppliers in Harare today, Musarara said the increase in packaging prices had also forced bread and mealie meal suppliers to also hike prices.

“We will be approaching the RBZ to say on the allocations that they are giving packaging companies, they should ring fence for flour packaging, rice, salt and perhaps bread if there is another commodity as well.

“There are no follow ups to the allocations that are being given to the packaging companies, we are not saying they are externalizing but what are they making out of the raw materials.

“There is no system to check that, you might see sweets, biscuits being packaged at the expense of staple foods,” said Musarara.

He added that despite government through the Reserve Bank allocating foreign currency to most packaging suppliers they had chosen to hike prices, while some are demanding payment in United States dollars.

“The price of mealie meal has gone up on account of packaging, we have seen some players demanding foreign currency and we would like to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for intervening ,the Deputy Minister instructed us last week to engage them and find out what is the reason.

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“We had a debate on the issues relating to costing of packaging, we have had instances where a bag of 10 kg roller meal which was costing about 40 cents thereabout is now costing a dollar and not only is it affecting mealie meal and flour but also other products to whom we are related to which is bread.

“One supplier moved his price from 3 cents per plastic to 21 cents so you can notice that the price of bread that went up by 30 cents was largely influenced by packaging among other factors,” said Musarara.

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