A LUSAKA resident has urged millers to consider reducing the price of mealie meal following a decision by Government to further reduce fuel prices.
Lusaka resident Mr.Ezekiel Mbulo said in an interview that consumers expected the reduction in prices of most commodities as the cost of production had gone down following the fuel prices at the international market. And the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has said it would convene a meeting next week with its members in the milling industry to consider a price reduction on the commodity. MAZ vice president Chisha Phiri acknowledged that the cost of distribution had come down and that it was a 50-50 situation.
Mr Phiri said the association would convene a meeting next week where it was expected to chart a price reduction. He said it was necessary that there was a reduction in mealie meal prices and that this would be only fair to the consumer.
Mr Phiri said the resolution of the meeting would be communicated next week. Mr Mbulo said he expected mealie meal prices to average between K50 and K60 for a 25kg breakfast and K40 and K50 for a 25kg bag of roller meal.
He said the current prices did not tally with the cost at which the millers were producing and that transportation costs had since reduced.
He said it was possible for the millers to reduce the price to that level so that the people on the ground could benefit.
He said the cost of production for the manufacturers had come down although it made little difference as the current prices were not genuine.
“The price of fuel has been reduced by 23 percent and more but there is no indication that the price for goods and services would come down except in the transport sector. Millers must realise that they also depend on transport, meaning that the cost of distribution has also come down.
“These reductions must have a positive impact in society and it is unfair for manufacturers to ignore this important aspect. Market forces should not be encouraged to work when we have the association that can help negotiate with the millers,” Mr Mbulo said.
He said however that Government would not sit back but will ensure that prices go down and carry out an investigation on what was happening in the market. He said the MAZ should ensure that prices come down this month and should not blame retailers for charging unrealistic prices.