GOVERNMENT decision to intervene in the current mealie meal prices is important to protect consumers from abnormal pricing which only benefits milling companies, says the Zambia Consumer Association general secretary Samuel Simutunda.
Mr Simutunda said it was the Government’s responsibility to protect consumers from greedy merchants who took advantage of the market and exploited consumers through abnormally high food prices.
The millers in Zambia have accused the Ministry of Agriculture of interfering in their business by demanding that they reduce the price of mealie meal in the country.
Mr Simutunda told the Daily Nation that millers were capitalists, business people whose mission was to make as much profits as possible without consideration of the effects on the consumer.
“And that was when the Government comes on board. Government’s intervention is very important to protect the consumer from greedy and insensitive millers who are only interested in their making super profits for themselves first despite any efforts to reduce the cost of production or doing business in the hope of extending benefits to the consumer,” said Mr Simutunda.
He said because of millers’ stubbornness, Government was forced to step in by way of establishing provincial milling plants to compete on the pricing structure of the commodity.
Mr Simutunda said the Government was a representative of the people, and millers only represented of themselves.
“This is the same problem we are having with transporters who even after all the efforts by the Government to improve the road network, and the reduction of the pump price of fuel, they still refuse to adjust bus fares downwards to benefit the commuters,” he said.
Mr Simutunda affirmed ZACA’s full support on the position taken by the Government on mealie meal pricing.