The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority official as saying that commodities including beans, rice, candles, sanitary pads, cooking oil, milk, flour and maize meal were barred from export effective immediately. The order followed the lifting of import duties on such commodities four months ago in an effort to boost supplies.
Staple foods like maize meal and bread are in short supply and very expensive. United Nations food experts say 5 million Zimbabweans could need food assistance by early 2009.
Meanwhile, registration for beneficiaries of the central bank's National Basic Commodities Supply-Side Intervention program or Bacossi began this weekend in Harare’s high-density suburbs, but some voided concerns that distributions might be politically biased.
The government said the program is intended to ensure that all families have access to basic goods whose prices have soared beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans.
Bacossi beneficiaries receive a hamper with small quantities of
cooking oil, flour, rice, sugar, washing powder, soap, toothpaste and sanitary
pads, and a bottle of Vaseline.
The Herald quoted Governor David Karimanzira
of Harare metropolitan province as saying that in more prosperous low-density suburbs, the
registration teams consisting of government officials would initially
register only domestic workers such as gardeners and maids.
But Information Officer Justice Mavedzenga of the Combined Harare Residents Association told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that his group is concerned that the registration teams include supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party, as this in CHRA's view could compromise equitable distribution as most residents of high-density suburbs back the opposition.