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Swanu jumps onto Meatco bandwagon

2023-11-14  Edward Mumbuu

Swanu jumps onto Meatco bandwagon

Swanu Youth League acting president Mbango Nandova has called on government and Meatco’s leadership to meet local beef producers in a bid to chart a way forward for the struggling entity. 

Nandova made this call in a statement availed to New Era recently, following calls by local beef producers who are demanding a seat at Meatco’s table by offering their expertise.

The producers believe they can rescue the cash-strapped parastatal. 

“We do not want to point fingers at anyone, but if Meatco collapses like Air Namibia or the SME Bank, Namibia will be in trouble. We cannot allow Meatco to fail. The agricultural sector has the potential to uplift this country. Let us put our hands together to fix Meatco. Let’s bring expertise and appoint the right people. We can turn Meatco into a profitable organisation within a year,” beef producer Rian van Wyk said recently. 

Van Wyk also implored finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi and his agriculture counterpart Calle Schlettwein, saying: “We are not interested in politics. We want to do business. We are pleading with Schlettwein and Shiimi to sit with us for us to show them what we can bring to the table. We have a lot of expertise to offer.”

Nandova agrees with Van Wyk’s position. 

“Meatco must engage its entire stakeholders to find mutually-beneficial solutions. There is a monopoly in the beef industry which was made possible due to the apartheid era, theft of land and cattle from the indigenous people, and of course no intervention from the government since the independence of our country,” Nandova said. 

He added: “The Swanu Youth League demands that the respective ministry acts and intervenes in this matter… it is heartbreaking that after 33 years of independence, the same people who suffered from German colonial rule and the apartheid era are still subjected to the same kinds of oppression from the descendants of their oppressors.”

Nandova’s comments come after Shiimi recently allocated an additional N$250 million to Meatco during the mid-term budget review.

“Regarding the stock of guarantees, we do not envisage further significant disbursement in the short-term, except for an additional N$250 million guarantee in favour of Meatco during the current financial year,” he had said.

The former central bank governor was, however, quick to note that Namibians are paying dearly through parastatal bailouts. 

“Continuing to bail out public enterprises takes away resources that are needed for critical social investments in education, healthcare, housing, agriculture, social protection, etc. The situation at some public enterprises thus warrants urgent and bold actions to ensure the sustainability of these entities,” he stated. 

He added that the fiscal risks from the operations of public enterprises have increased significantly through both requests for budgetary allocations as well as the settlement of government-guaranteed loans.

The bailout came at a time when around 250 farmers are owed N$320 million by the company.

While Meatco maintains it is a company out of the woods, producers and industry players opine it is an entity in financial ruin.

Earlier this year, a forensic report by Ombu Capital, a firm owned by former Standard Bank Namibia CEO Vetumbuavi Mungunda revealed that Meatco loses at least N$5 million a week.  

That report covered a seven-month process of analysis and sector-wide consultation, and recommends what the authors view as a viable business model for Meatco’s long-term sustainability.

In August, it was reported that Meatco generated N$297 million between May and June this year. 

In May, 7 681 animals were slaughtered at Meatco abattoirs countrywide, while June figures stood at 11 379. 

Since January, over 38 000 animals have been slaughtered at Meatco’s slaughterhouses.

On the marketing front, the total marketed volumes for January to June were 5 515 metric tonnes.

In the process, N$444 million was derived from local, regional and international markets.  


2023-11-14  Edward Mumbuu

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