Mozambique threatens Zimbabwe over delayed wheat import payments
BEIRA port officials have threatened to stop Zimbabwe wheat cargo from using the terminal after inordinate delays in payment and collection of bonded consignments.
Zimbabwe, through the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz), has failed to pay and collect 19 000 metric tonnes of wheat bonded in Beira since December.
A letter by Beira Grain Terminal (BGT) managing director Antonio Lopes to the country’ grain supplier Holbud Limited, the port officials said Zimbabwe risked being banned from using the port.
Holbud Limited is Gmaz’s supplier of wheat. The London-based company also supplies fertilisers to government, which also owes it millions of dollars.
Holbud has been supplying Zimbabwe with grain since the early 1990s, and supplied the yellow maize commonly locally known as “Kenya” which flooded the country during the 1992 drought.
“It has come to our notice that Holbud Limited has been bringing wheat for Gmaz contracts and storing it over the agreed time frame on reasons that payment is still being processed by GMAZ, which is causing a lot of inconveniences to other receivers of Mozambique , Malawi and Zambia,” read part of the ultimatum.
“We are now objecting to this extended storage as this is now featuring regularly. In future, if any wheat vessel coming for Gmaz or its members from Zimbabwe, if it does not have release before berthing, it will not be allowed to be received at BGT,” the port officials said.
Mozambique Manica Freight Services (MMFS), which transfers GMAZ cargo from Beira warehouses to the Zimbabwean side, also said they were being greatly inconvenienced by the delays by Harare authorities to clear their wheat consignment.
“This delay in loading out the cargo on arrival is causing inconveniences to other receivers as the capacity of BGT is limited and is not a storage point. Now the time has come when other receivers are objecting to BGT allowing Gmaz/Zimbabwe cargo as this is now becoming a regular feature with Gmaz consignment,” said MMFS.
Gmaz imports wheat for the nation on behalf of the government and it gets a foreign currency allocation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which it uses to pay for the imports.
“We refer to the long outstanding wheat payment for the residual balance of 19 000 metric tonnes of wheat currently in Beira but berthed on 21 December 2018. The matter has become untenable,” Musarara said.
Source – dailynews