Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Jennifer van den Heever has implored government to come up with a turnaround strategy that will save the cash-strapped Agricultural Business Development Agency (Agribusdev) from collapse.
Agribusdev has been in the media for the past years for all the wrong reasons. Recently a local daily reported that the Agribusdev tasked to facilitate sustainable growth of agronomic production failed to pay its 320 permanent employees for the month of January.
This is despite receiving N$53 million cash injection from government last year.
“Is it not time for government to take decisive action in order to turn around Agribusdev?” Van den Heever asked public enterprise minister, Leon Jooste in parliament last week Friday.
“Can the Namibian people continue entrusting Agribusdev with managing the more than 11 green schemes across the country, particularly in light of the severe food scarcity experienced across some segments of Namibia?”
Van den Heever said Agribusdev is financially and effectively on its knees and there is a lack of internal control, lack of separation of duties and responsibilities between the management and the board and lack of accountability towards the line ministry.
“Agribusdev has collapsed in terms of good corporate governance,” she said. Agribusdev manages 11 government green scheme projects scattered across the country. Eight of the schemes are under the direct operation and management of Agribusdev in terms of production while the remaining three are leased out to the private sector through lease-hold agreements as prescribed in the Green Scheme Policy.
The agency employs 320 permanent staff, of which 240 are men and 80 are women that are at various projects and offices across the country.