Government is compiling a database of the vulnerable in urban areas who will benefit from subsidised roller meal.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube yesterday said: “The exact details are being worked out. For a start, we need a very credible list of beneficiaries which can then be targeted.
“By the way, we have a very detailed database for the rural vulnerable, but not so good database for the urban vulnerable, so that is what we are working on. But soon we will announce the modalities of how this targeted scheme is going to work.
“People should focus less on it being a coupon system because coupons are associated with other things, but we just want it to be a targeted system benefiting whoever needs to benefit.
“In the next couple of weeks our database should be ready. We expect to make a lot of progress this week and then next week we should be able to see the beginning of the new system.”
Minister Ncube said subsidies could only achieve intended goals if they were targeted.
“Subsidies always work better if they are targeted, if the person who is vulnerable is identified and receives that subsidy directly,” he said.
“It cuts off the abuse that has been identified with the subsidy. The second point is we want some kind of voucher system or cash transfer system that will just do that, which is targeted at the beneficiary.”
The Government introduced the subsidy on roller meal to cushion vulnerable groups against rising prices of maize and other inputs that kept pushing up the manufacturing costs and retail prices.
The price for a 10kg bag was initially set at $50, but was increased to $70 last week as the first step to cut out the black market.
Now the Government wants to have the subsidised maize meal sold directly to identified beneficiaries.
Millers say they require approximately 80 000 tonnes of maize per month to produce both super refined and roller meal. They have initiated their own imports while the Government has stepped up efforts to import grain to cover the deficit caused by poor harvests.-herald