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Speaker talks tough on maize export ban

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Speaker of Parliament and first vice president of the Malawi Congress Party Richard Msowoya has expressed his disappointment with the restriction on export of surplus maize.

During a whistle-stop tour which he conducted in Karonga District on Sunday, Msowoya said the decree to stop farmers from exporting surplus maize is unwarranted and is punishing farmers.

Msowoya, who posted his speech on his Facebook page, said the ban was one of the contentious issues he shared with the people in the North.

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“Restriction on maize export is unwarranted because evidence points that the country has surplus maize for domestic requirements. Whosoever made the decree is punishing farmers, those of Karonga included,” Msowoya said.

Ministry of Trade Spokesperson, Wiskes Nkombezi, recently confirmed that the ban is still in force but conceded that the Karonga-Chitipa stretch bordering Tanzania remains porous, posing logistical challenges for law enforcers.

“Let the people tip and report culprits to police, Malawi Revenue Authority or any other law enforcing agents manning the border posts to fight smuggling,” Nkombezi said.

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Farmers in Karonga, in the areas of Mwasulama Village, are still loading maize into boats across Mtakisi River which drains into Songwe River before connecting to Tanzania and the other parts of East Africa by road where they are exporting the grain.

Sources say there is high demand for maize in East Africa.

But Msowoya argued that stopping farmers from exporting maize is not the solution to food insecurity.

He added that in order to deal with the food challenge, the country ought to revamp what he called abandoned agricultural schemes that used to be all over Malawi, but sadly were allowed to disintegrate

Msowoya also asked the people who gathered at Uliwa, to go back to the 2014 manifestos and conduct an audit on what the government has done to meet the needs and aspirations of Malawians.

He further said people should take full responsibility for the mess in the country, which is a direct outcome of entrusting people who do not deserve the trust.

On corruption, Msowoya said it is a reality and not perception.

He explained that lack of political will to adequately resource and free oversight institutions is the reason bodies such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) are not working professionally.

Last month, during the National Anti-Corruption Conference at Bingu International Convention Centre, President Peter Mutharika said that government shall provide the ACB with capacity to carry out their prosecutions where that is needed. He said cases of corruption when properly handled and when appropriate sentences are given by the courts will have a deterrent effect.

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