The government has with immediate effect suspended customs duty and removed import permits and licences for grain, maize meal and wheat flour.
This was revealed in a joint statement on Monday by the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, Industry and Commerce and Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement. The statement read in part:
In order to ensure the continued availability of essential foodstuffs on the market and to counter the effects of the drought that was experienced during the 2018/19 agricultural season, the Government of Zimbabwe has undertaken the following temporary measures, which will be implemented with immediate effect.
Removal of control of goods import permits for maize grain, maize meal, and wheat flour with immediate effect. The Ministry of Industry will put wheat flour on the Open General Import Licence (OGIL) with immediate effect.
The government has already gazetted Statutory Instrument 247 of 2019 – Customs and Excise (suspension/amendment) Regulations – to give legal effect to the new policy.
Meanwhile, some retailers have already hiked the price of mealie meal in response to a statement purportedly released by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) giving a new price structure for the product.