15 Feb 2016 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 15 FEB (NAMPA) The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is calling on investors to submit expressions of interest in the leasing of the Oshakati and Katima Mulilo abattoirs.
This comes after the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) did not renew its contract with Government after experiencing an operational loss of close to N.dollars 43 million during the 2014/2015 financial year.
The contract will come to an end on 04 March 2016 and the closing date for the lease agreement for the two abattoirs is 14 March 2016.
Meatco announced at the end of January 2016 that the company will no longer operate the abattoirs and will instead introduce a mobile slaughter unit that will bring slaughtering services closer to farmers in the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).
Meatcos Corporate Affairs Manager, Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias told this news agency last month that the new mobile abattoir is tailored to the unique circumstances of communal producers in the NCAs.
The meat corporation took over the management of the Government-owned abattoirs from the National Development Corporation (NDC) in 1991/1992. However, the management agreement was converted into a commercial lease agreement for the lease of the said facilities in the year 2011 at Meatcos cost.
The financial losses incurred by Meatcos operations since 1991 were estimated at N.dollars 354 million up to the 2014/2015 financial year. This situation prompted the companys members and Board to direct management to develop a new business model that will address the financial losses and at the same time guarantee Meatcos continued presence in the NCAs, Hamukuaja-Thobias said.
The corporation expected losses of N.dollars 53 million at the abattoirs in 2016 alone if Meatco continued with its operations there. Even while the NCA abattoirs were closed due to the three-month outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Meatco still incurred losses of up to N.dollars 12,9 million up to the end of December 2015. This was due to overhead costs alone, Hamukuaja-Thobias said.
Meanwhile, in recent events, a Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) delegation last Wednesday met President Hage Geingob at State House. The delegation was led by the NAU President, Ryno van der Merwe and management of the union. The NAU discussed the uncertainty of the future business structure of Meatco and the consequences on the livestock industry, a newsletter issued by the union last Friday said.
After various consultations over the ownership, operational structure and legal framework of Meatco over a period of five years, Cabinet in June 2012 approved the companys new structure. Meatco was divided into two components a cooperative fully owned by the livestock producers and a trading company with 70 per cent ownership going to the cooperative and 30 per cent, to Government.
The 10 Cabinet decisions taken on 05 June 2012, amongst others, included that Cabinet approve that the ownership of Meatco be vested in the cooperative with a majority shareholding of 70 per cent while Government holds the remaining 30 per cent and that Meatcos new structure be made up of delegates from regional structures. Furthermore, it was decided that the Governments veto voting right regarding major decisions taken by the trading company, should be vested in the ministry.