Witvlei Meat will never concede to a Meatco takeover: Martin

15 Jan 2014 20:00pm
WITVLEI, 15 JAN (NAMPA) - Witvlei Meat, the company in charge of the abattoir at Witvlei in the Omaheke Region, has said it will never sell to Meatco, nor allow the latter to take hold of the abattoir by way of forcing them out of business.
Witvlei Meat Board chairperson and the largest investor in the company, Sydney Martin told a public meeting convened to spell out the future of the company here on Wednesday that he will not allow the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) to take over his company.
Martin said Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, never gave the company enough time to have its side of the story heard. According to him, the ministry blatantly ignored requests for an audience with Witvlei Meat to have some matters clarified.
Before they could object to submissions of Meatco to Cabinet - which motivated the new bidding process - such submissions were already before Cabinet and there was little Witvlei Meat could do, Martin claimed.
Government cut Witvlei Meat’s Norway beef quota meat allocation by 500 tonnes when he announced the results of the bidding process for the lucrative Norwegian market recently.
A quota allocation of 300 tonnes of beef was awarded to Witvlei Meat, while Meatco would be able to sell 1 200 tonnes to Norway and Brukarros Meat Processors (BMP) was awarded a quota of 100 tonnes of beef for export. During the past three years the allocation of 1 600 tonnes of meat was done on a 50:50 basis between Witvlei Meat and Meatco, but with the entrance of BMP, Cabinet decided that the quota should be done in a bidding process and that role players should comply with certain criteria.
Martin on Wednesday also questioned Government’s Infant Industry Protection scheme, through which upcoming industrial businesses are encouraged to grow into large enterprises.
He said Government never supported Witvlei Meat since the company took over operations at the Witvlei abattoir in 2006; saying it only came on board four years later in 2010.
“We built up this company on our own without the support of Government. It is sad to note that the same government that is expected to protect the infant industry is the one imposing procedures that would make it difficult for a company like ours to stay afloat,” said Martin.
Witvlei Meat is of the opinion that it is “humanly impossible” to adhere to new objectives as set out by Cabinet in the time frame given.
“This is just a way of getting rid of competition in order to get a complete monopoly and it should not be allowed,” he said.
Recent news reports quoted Meatco Chief Executive Officer, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, as saying Meatco is prepared to step in and take over the operations at the Witvlei abattoir should Witvlei Meat close down.
Meat producers, farmers and community members from Witvlei attended the public meeting.