The Zimbabwean government has removed import restrictions on maize and wheat flour in an endeavour to address the scarcity of these commodities.
The acute shortage of maize and wheat in the country has seen prices of commodities such as bread and mealie-meal soaring unabated.
The government had imposed the controls as a way to promote local producers and a way to limit the exportation of the scarce foreign currency.
The suspension of the restrictions was announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube who said everyone was now allowed to import maize meal and wheat flour duty-free “with effect from May 22, 2020, and for a period of six months to November 21, 2020.”
According to Statutory Instrument 119 of 2020 published on Tuesday, the suspension of duty on flour will cover “wheat flour in bulk, in the packaging of 50kg or more” or “pre-packaged wheat flour… for retail sale less than 50kg.”
The development comes when half of the country’s population is facing starvation following a poor farming season due to the El Nino induced drought and poor agriculture policies.
At the moment, the government is, through the Grain Marketing Board, importing maize which is then sold at subsidised prices to millers.