A consignment of 30 000 metric tonnes of wheat which was sourced from Lithuania by the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) is stuck at Beira port in Mozambique after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) reportedly failed to pay for the vessel.
The vessel, docked at the Beira port two weeks ago, needs US$12,2 million before it can offload the consignment of wheat. The RBZ has only managed to pay US$2,5 million to the London-based supplier, Holbud Ltd.
According to reports, the consignment is attracting daily demurrage charges of $17 000 pending receipt of full payment by the supplier whose charges will be passed on to GMAZ.
Holbud recently wrote to GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara expressing the company’s exasperation at the failure by Zimbabwe to pay for the consignment.
“We are very disappointed as we have brought the vessel basing on various promises given to us and also given the fact that we have always been supporting Zimbabwe during tight situations like now. Please let us know at the earliest time when the balance payment will be made to us,” Holbud wrote.
“We request you to come down to London, UK, on January 8, 2019 to discuss on the next shipment and how the payment will be made as we will not be able to make similar provision for future shipment as our bankers are very upset with the delay in payment.”
Holbud is now the sole supplier of wheat to Zimbabwe after all the other companies cut off deliveries due to long delays in making payments. Contacted for comment, GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said the association was in the process of engaging the central bank and the government over the issue.
“As I am speaking now, the chairperson [Musarara] is engaging with Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya and Industry and Commerce minister Mangaliso Ndlovu over this urgent issue,” he said.
“He [Musarara] is also having marathon discussions with the supplier [Holbud] abroad and it is our hope that RBZ will do the needful. We will give further updates once these discussions are over.”
The country imports wheat to augment the local cereal which alone does not make good bread.
Bread manufactured by local bakers has 50% hard (imported) wheat.