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‘Smugglers will be wiped out’

By MUYANI SHINJABALE
GOVERNMENT is scaling up measures to curb smuggling of mealie meal into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and ensure that the commodity is readily available locally, says Copperbelt Minister Japhen Mwakalombe.
He was confident that smugglers would be wiped out soon.
Speaking in Ndola, Mr Mwakalombe said that Government would deal with the smugglers sternly and warned perpetrators that their days were numbered.
The Minister said security officers recently confiscated three trucks with about 2,000 bags of mealie meal, which were destoned to the DRC.
Government, he said, would not give up the fight against smuggling and would ensure that the vice was put to an end.
He indicated that once found, smugglers would have their mealie meal and vessels seized and forfeited to the state which would get a courts order to sell the commodity at K40 per 25 kilogramme bag.
Mr Mwakalombe stated that smugglers were mere thieves who were stealing from the people and causing a shortage of the commodity, leading to price hikes.
Meanwhile, Ndola Central Member of Parliament (MP), Emmanuel Mulenga, donated 150 and 60 bags of 12.5 kilogrammes of mealie meal to the marketeers at Chisokone and Kansenshi markets respectively.
Mr Mulenga, who is also Youth, Sport and Child Development Minister, indicated that the mealie meal was meant to cushion the impact of the many challenges they were facing as Government was worried about the poor people in society.
Mr Mulenga however emphasised that the mealie meal was not for sale but for the marketeers and their families to eat.
Sandra Mwansa, a trader at Kansenshi market, thanked Government for the donation and for being a pro poor Government.
She indicated that the commodity would go a long way in sustaining a number of households as the business at the market was slow.

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