Millers, bak­ery clash over flour im­ports

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Bianca Mlilo

THE Grain Millers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe (GMAZ) has ap­pealed to the Govern­ment to can­cel Lo­bels Bread’s im­port li­cence.

The gi­ant bread man­u­fac­turer is be­ing ac­cused of al­legedly sab­o­tag­ing lo­cal millers through wheat im­por­ta­tion de­spite the avail­abil­ity of the prod­uct lo­cally.

Last week, the Na­tional Bak­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Zim­babwe (NBAZ) through its pres­i­dent, Mr Give­more Me­soemvura, also ac­cused millers of in­creas­ing the price of flour.

Bak­eries say the 20 per­cent price in­crease by millers from $27 to $32 for a 50 kilo­gramme bag of flour was un­jus­ti­fied but would not name the im­pli­cated millers.

GMAZ chair­man Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said: “I un­der­stand th­ese false­hoods are be­ing ped­dled by Lo­bels. For your in­for­ma­tion, we re­ported Lo­bels to the Vice Pres­i­dent (Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa) so that their im­por­ta­tion priv­i­lege is re­versed.”

Asked why GMAZ had not re­ported the is­sue to the Min­istry of In­dus­try and Com­merce or the Com­pe­ti­tion and Tar­iff Com­mis­sion, Mr Musarara said: “As in­dus­try we re­port to him (VP) on all mat­ters re­lated and in­ci­den­tal to food pro­cess­ing. “Im­ported flour is cheaper than lo­cal flour. Is Lo­bels then pric­ing their bread cheaper than Pro­ton and Bread? If not, who is ben­e­fit­ing from flour im­ports?” Lo­bels Bread chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Socky Kap­nias said in re­sponse: “Firstly, the ac­cu­sa­tion by GMAZ is ridicu­lous and not worth re­spond­ing to as we do not un­der­stand what the pur­pose of us mak­ing such state­ments would be. “We know our sup­pli­ers and if we have is­sues with them we can ad­dress our con­cerns di­rectly to them. In ad­di­tion, if this was a cred­i­ble is­sue GMAZ would have raised it di­rectly with us as they know how to con­tact us. “Re­gard­ing the al­le­ga­tion that we are not us­ing lo­cal flour there is ab­so­lutely no truth in this ac­cu­sa­tion. We have only im­ported five per­cent of our flour re­quire­ments with 95 per­cent com­ing from lo­cal millers.” Mr Kap­nias said the re­vival of Lo­bels was a thorn in the flesh for their com­peti­tors in the bak­ing sec­tor. “This com­pet­i­tive de­vel­op­ment is forc­ing some par­ties to re­sort to all sorts of tac­tics aimed at dam­ag­ing the Lo­bels’ brand. There­fore GMAZ’s al­le­ga­tions should be viewed in this con­text, es­pe­cially given its (GMAZ) mem­ber­ship. This is a good ex­am­ple of the dirty tac­tics they are us­ing among many oth­ers,” he said. - @Bian­caMlilo

Mr Tafadzwa Musarara

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