PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed the Zambia Natonal Service (ZNS) to deploy officers in Eastern Province to help police curb the smuggling of mealie meal from Zambia into Malawi.
And President Lungu has warned that Government will have no other option but to revoke the voluntary maize concession between the millers and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) if milling firms continued exploiting people with exorbitant prices of mealie meal.
Speaking when he addressed scores of people who welcomed him at the Chipata airport yesterday, President Lungu said there was need for security to be tightened up in order to curb the smuggling of mealie meal.
“There is too much smuggling of mealie meal into Malawi and am asking the police to be more alert and stop this. I am asking the ZNS command to bring servicemen here to beef up security with the police to stop the smuggling of mealie meal to Malawi,” President Lungu said.
He also said there was no justification for millers to be selling the commodity at exorbitant prices when they were getting maize at a subsidised price from FRA.
He warned that if millers continued exploiting Zambians, Government would have no option but to come up with punitive measures against them since they did not want to honour the agreement.
“We agreed that they will be getting maize at reduced prices from FRA so that they could be selling the mealie meal cheaply and there is no justification why a bag of mealie meal should be costing K120 here in Chipata.
“I am appealing to all millers to immediately reduce the price of mealie meal because they are getting the maize stocks cheaply from FRA but if they don’t want, Boma ni Boma,” he warned.
Meanwhile, business came to a standstill in Chipata yesterday as the presidential convoy passed through town from the airport as hundreds of people thronged the airport road on foot while others rode their bikes all the way into town.
The President was forced to make a brief stopover at Navutika market where multitudes were waiting for him.
In his brief address, President Lungu counselled the youths against engaging in political violence. He said he did not want anyone to be engaged in violent activities as there was need for peace as the country goes to the polls.
“My message to the youths is that you should maintain peace all the time. There is no need for you to fight against each other because of politics. Our message should be what we have done and what we are yet to do to the Zambians and not fighting.
“If you find UPND members, give them way. Let us engage in issue based campaigns,” he said.
He also promised marketeers that Government would work on the market to improve its outlook.