‘Hefty power hike will escalate mealie-meal prices’ – millers

A massive proposed price hike by the national power company Zesco, will further escalate mealie-meal prices, says the Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ). Andrew Chintala, MAZ president, said ZESCO’s proposed 75% increase will ultimately result in astronomical prices for mealie-meal. “The moment electricity goes up, there will be an increase on the output side,” he said.

ZESCO requested the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) to approve its proposed tariff hike, starting with a 50% increase next month and a further 25% increase in September 2017. MAZ said Zambia’s cost of doing business is already high, and a big power hike – as proposed by ZESCO – will hurt the entire value chain of mealie-meal production.

Chintala said phasing in the increase will not make a difference to mitigate the expected adverse impact on the production of the national staple food. “However you look at it, the milling machines and other equipment used in production need a lot of energy to run. And this will be unsustainable,” he said.

Mealie-meal prices remain above K100 for a 25kg bag of white mealie-meal and K90 for yellow, despite a government brokered deal to decrease prices.

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