Zimbabwe: Parly to Follow Up On RBZ Funds

27 February 2020

Parliament will follow up on all companies that received foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to promote accountability and transparency.

This came out yesterday when the Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chaired by Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena toured Agro-Milling Company in Msasa and Alpha Grain in Workington.

The fact-finding mission followed the appearance of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) before the committee on Tuesday to give evidence on the support services by Government to milling companies and the funding of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) silo refurbishment.

GMAZ failed to account for the US$27 million which the association received from RBZ and could not provide evidence that they used part of the money to repair GMB silos.

When the parliamentarians arrived at Alpha Grain head office, they were escorted to the milling plant, only to find out that the company was called Drotsky.

They could not continue with the tour as their interest was on Alpha Grain operations, not those of Drotsky.

Cde Wadyajena said they were going to sit as a committee and seek clarification on the ownership of Drotsky.

"We came here for the tour of Alpha Grain and we were advised it's not Alpha Grain, but Drotsky," he said.

"We are going to seek clarification on the ownership of Drotsky, so we cannot continue with the tour. We will have another day to tour Drotsky.

"The committee is not only following up on GMAZ, but on every company that has received foreign currency from the RBZ, including Fossil Agro, FSG Fertiliser and Windmill."

On whether the committee was going to take disciplinary action against GMAZ, Cde Wadyajena said it was too early to comment as the committee was still waiting for the association to bring more papers.

The association had promised to present the papers by tomorrow.

"GMAZ appeared before the committee on Tuesday, but failed to present any paper to show they had imported wheat," he said.

"GMAZ gave us papers that showed the wheat was imported by Drotsky, but GMAZ was the one that had sourced the money from the RBZ."

GMAZ chairman, Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, said he did not know the reason why the parliamentarians abandoned the tour, as Alpha Grain and Drotsky were one.

"It's Drotsky trading as Alpha Grain," he said. "It's a group of companies. Milling is done by Drotsky trading as Alpha Grain. We also have Drotsky trading as Natbake."

Mr Musarara said there was no need for him to be on the site since senior managers were present to take the parliamentarians around.

At Agro-milling, the managing director, Mr Davison Norupiri, told the committee that they were a member of GMAZ paying a subscription fee of $5 000 annually, but did not benefit directly from the association.

"We attend GMAZ meetings so we can know what is happening in the industry, but in terms of maize supplies we get allocations from the GMB.

"We source our maize through the formal system and we have never benefited from the subsidised price of US$240 per tonne. We bought at US$270 per tonne."

Mr Norupiri said he started milling in 2018, but was having challenges accessing maize.

He said the situation could improve if the GMB sold grain to all millers at import parity price or Government allowed all millers to import grain.

"We cannot import maize at the moment since some will be getting the commodity at a lower price from GMB," said Mr Norupiri. "Policy inconsistencies have also affected us. We cannot move grain in bulk and its affecting our operations."

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