Government maintains wheat imports restriction

Zambia has rejected calls by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to relax its rules on imports of wheat flour.

Commerce, Trade and Industry minister Christopher Yaluma was quoted saying the decision was “in the best interest of the Zambian economy”.

Mr Yaluma made the remarks as he attended the SADC 30th meeting of the committee of Ministers of Trade held in Pretoria, South Africa.

Zambia's decision, he said, was accepted by the SADC Secretariat by consensus.

Mr Yaluma further said that Zambia would not adopt international trade treaties which were not favourable to the local economy.

Mr. Yaluma indicated that government needed sometime in order to make extensive consultation with several local stakeholders before adopting some international trade agreements.

He said government was interested in seeing that local businesses and manufacturing sectors were active participants in regional and international trade so as to empower them.

Mr. Yaluma, said government was actively working towards meeting deadlines given to ensure that it carried out extensive consultation before coming up with permanent position on some international trade agreements like joining the African Union Free Trade Area(FTA).

He said government has so far remained committed to ensure that private and public sector stakeholders were involved through information dissemination and trainings.

Zambia consumes an average of 540,000 tons of wheat per annum, but last season experienced a deficit of 250,000 tons.

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