GMB to be unbundled

Zimbabwe’s finance Minister Tendai Biti has called for the unbundling of the country’s Grain Marketing Board amid allegations of corruption and maladministration from the company’s management.

Tendai Biti
Tendai Biti

Biti who gave oral evidence to agriculture’s parliamentary committee said there is need to split GMB such that the strategic grain reserve could be a standalone entity while other strategic business units will have a different management for commercial purposes.

“The best way is to unbundle GMB so that the strategic grain reserve does not interfere with commercial operations of the company, one wonders how a company like GMB would be said too have incurred a loss when it is the country’s grain buyer of first resort.

“It is a shame to note that a company with a wage bill of US$10m cannot even keep proper records of accounts,” said Biti.

Biti said it was in the interest of the hard working farmers to let the market dictate grain price rather than getting the Agriculture Minister announcing grain prices adding that the state body should allow for competition even from buyers from outside the country so that the farmers are reasonably paid.

“It does not make much sense in this day and age that GMB be a grain buyer of firsts resort, rather it should be a buyer of last resort. We cannot have the minister announcing grain prices that are unreasonably and unrealistically low. Buyers should simply come in compete for the product and the highest bidder gets the best product.

“I don’t see any reason why GMB shouldn’t be making any profit, when they deal with a product whose demand is inelastic Zimbabweans love their sadza and that tells us how much demand is on the market,” he added.

He also said he failed to understand why the commercial units of GMB was failing to make profits before offering the audited results of the company which he described as deplorable and in a shame state.

The finance Minister also says he has ordered GMB officials to avail to his office the names of all senior government officials who procedurally took Ammonium Nitrate (AN) for top dressing which despite the government having acquired enough top dressing fertilizer, the top brass stole it leaving the ordinary farmers without the product.

Recently Vice-President Joice Mujuru was quoted as saying that some cabinet ministers had stolen the agricultural salt in tonnes leaving the ordinary farmers desperate.

Post published in: News
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