By Owen Mandovha
GOVERNMENT has directed the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to ensure all outstanding payments from contracting companies, owing farmers from deliveries dating back to three years ago are settled.
This follows an outcry by farmers organisations that the board is not doing enough to address their plight.
In a letter seen by ZBC News news, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Dr Anxious Mazuka directed the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board to expedite the process of ensuring that all tobacco contracting companies owing farmers settle their dues without fail.
Contacted for comment, Tobacco Industry Board Chairman, Mr. Devenish who responded via WhatsApp said, “We have since engaged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to bring the unscrupulous companies to book”.
The regulator is determined to clear the rot in the sector as the management has set up a framework to forestall compliance in order to root out some of the malpractices which have been retrogressive..
Efforts by Government to establish a US$5 billion tobacco industry faces threat from the errant companies who frustrate farmers by not honoring their contracting obligations
The TIMB Chief Executive Officer Mr Meanwell Gudu is out on bail following his arrest for misappropriating millions of dollars meant to support tobacco farmers.