Zitounija: State does not pay debt for flour, millers get no money for wheat purchase
The state has not yet paid the mills a debt of 240 million dinars for the delivery of flour at frozen prices, and limited export prevented them from selling surpluses, so many will not have the money to buy wheat from the new yield, said director of the Association of Millers “Zitounija”, Zdravko Sajatovic.
He told the Beta agency that millers were claiming debt from the state for four months, from February to June, because the state did not deliver wheat from commodity reserves at favourable prices, but they had to buy it on the free market.
“Millers bought wheat on the free market because the state did not deliver it from commodity reserves, except for two months, and they paid for it at significantly higher prices, while they sold flour at limited prices, which were often lower than the prices they paid for wheat,” Sajatovic said.
The Government of Serbia limited the prices of flour in packages from one to five kilograms in November last year, to the levels registered at the time at the manufacturers’, from 36 to about 50 dinars. In March this year, the Serbian government banned the export of flour, and on April 20, it approved quotas under the pressure of exporters, while it abolished them at the end of that month.
Sajatovic said the harvest would begin in a month, and millers have no money to buy new quantities of wheat because they have not managed to sell all the surpluses due to limited exports.
He said the state did not reject their request for the payment of the debt, but it did not respond. According to the Law on Market Regulation, which has been in force since January 1, the state can limit the prices of certain products, but it is obliged to compensate producers for the damage caused by regulated prices.
The millers were banned from exporting during the period when flour on the foreign market could have been sold at more favourable prices than on the domestic market, according to Sajatovic, which prevented them from earning more income.