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The Herald

Treasury has mobilised resources to buy grain from farmers and has set up a procurement committee bringing together Government and the private sector to ensure that Zimbabwe benefits from the bumper harvest expected this season, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube told the National Assembly on Wednesday during the Question and Answer session.

Legislators wanted to know if Government had mobilised enough resources to buy grain.

“We have set up a grain procurement committee comprising my Ministry and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement. We have also included the private sector like millers. “We meet every week. The grain purchase programme has started. We have an outlay of over $2 billion and it is going on well,”

said Prof Ncube.

Millers were also buying grain under an agreed system, but will do so through the Grain Marketing Board to avoid any possibility of side-marketing.

Turning to tobacco, Prof Ncube said he will investigate why there has been a delay in settling payments after farmers delivered their crop.

“Complaints have been raised that tobacco farmers, mostly women, were sleeping at auction floors for two weeks waiting for their money. “Tobacco farmers are our special farmers. I am unhappy that payment is taking long, like two weeks. It was brought to my attention and we are looking at it. I will engage the central bank to resolve this problem,”

he said.

Prof Ncube said he will soon tour tobacco auction floors to have an appreciation of the challenges and try to comprehensively address them.

He said what ought to be established was whether the problem was with banks, buying firms, or something else.

Cotton farmers were assured that Government will clear the $1,5 billion that remains outstanding from the previous cropping season.

Meanwhile, Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo, said they were studying the Justice Uchena report pertaining to the parcelling out of urban land.

The Ministry would take relevant cases to law enforcement agencies and deal internally with cases that require such a route.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said he will wait for due processes in a case in which lawyers and some members of the civil society have written to the High Court seeking to have him account for a statement he issued last weekend, which they felt constituted contempt of court.

Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa had asked if the Minister would consider resigning following a statement he issued last weekend describing his unhappiness over the High Court decision that Chief Justice Luke Malaba ceased to hold that office after attaining 70 years, and was not permitted an extension to 75.

Minister Ziyambi said the matter had become sub-judice given that some lawyers had written to courts over his statement where he expressed unhappiness over the High Court decision.

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