28 December 2012

Zambia: Sata Warns Millers

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has warned millers against exploiting Zambians through exorbitant pricing of mealie meal.

The Head of State said Government would be forced to re-introduce price controls on the staple food if prices of mealie meal remained high.

Meanwhile, Mr Sata has cautioned MMD Members of Parliament (MPs) appointed to serve in his Government against using ministerial portfolios and facilities in MMD activities.

Mr Sata made the remarks at State House yesterday when he swore in MMD's Kabompo East MP Danny Chingimbu as Lands and Natural Resources Deputy Minister.

The President said the continued hiking of prices would leave Government with no option but to implore counter-measures such as re-introducing price controls.

Mr Sata said the increased mealie meal prices, in some cases pegged at K80,000 for a 25 kilogramme bag of breakfast, was unjustified.

"Mealie meal prices are getting too high. As Government we can re-introduce price controls if they (millers) don't stop exploiting people. Licences are hanging for traders selling the commodity for more than K50, 000," Mr Sata said.

He said people in urban areas did not have jobs and could not be forced to buy mealie meal at exorbitant price ranges.

Some millers have ignored calls by the Head of State to adjust mealie meal prices downwards.

On Mr Chingimbu's appointment, the President said MMD MPs serving in Government as deputy ministers should not promote partisan agendas.

Mr Sata said those that wished to push their party agenda risked being dropped.

"Don't use your ministerial vehicle, phones and others to promote MMD; if you want to promote your party, I can relieve you of your duties so that you ask for money from the jail-master (in reference to Nevers Mumba).

"You should show leadership to your children, your madam and everyone and work for the people," Mr Sata said.

He said a culture of laziness had compromised development of the country.

"I am allergic to late coming. Why should someone report for work at 16:00 hours? That is stealing from Zambians. Here at State House, reporting for work late is a dismissible offence.

"When you go to the Ministry of Finance, you will find Mr Chikwanda (Minister) in the office by 07:00 hours, our currency hasn't appreciated. So congratulations on your appointment and go and work hard," he added.

He reiterated the Constitutionality of appointing MPs from the opposition.

The President bemoaned the low levels of development in North-Western Province and advised Mr Chingimbu to ensure the area also recorded positive development.

Mr Chingimbu replaced his MMD counterpart, Elijah Muchima, who is MP for Ikeleng'i in North-Western Province, whose appointment President Sata revoked on Monday this week.

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