Thursday, October 28, 2021

Another ‘Authority’ coming your way…

It’s a rare occasion to have more than a year without the government setting up an ‘authority’. Year after another, the government enclave unveils an ‘authority’ with 2021 set to birth the ‘Meat Regulatory Authority’.

A date (December 2021) has already been set for the unveiling of the Meat Regulatory Authority according to a junior Minister at Agriculture Development and Food Security – Beauty Manake.

Manake told Parliament this week that her ministry is working in conjunction with the office of the Attorney General Chambers to finalise the legal instrument of the Botswana Meat Industry Regulatory Authority.

Justifying the delays, Manake admitted that the introduction of the meat regulator has been talk of town since 2019 when President Mokgwetsi Masisi, announced it during the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“To develop an institution like the meat regulator is an enormous task. It appears there has been confusion surrounding the different activities it should do. We have addressed those issues, so the development process should be easier so that cattle farmers can be assisted and meat can trade in different markets.”

Manake further said, “We are working night and day as we are looking at three Acts that are currently being used in the Ministry. They are taking a while for us to review, to see what we take out, leave in and then we go ahead.” Manake said.

Through the new authority the government intends to cut the middle man for farmers to be able to directly sell meat outside Botswana without prohibiting and cumbersome process of trading.

The new changes comes after the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) researchers published working paper in 2015, indicating that the single export channel, through a state trading export monopoly, means that the collapse of the state trader may lead to an instant collapse of the beef industry in Botswana.

The research paper titled ‘Export Competitiveness of Botswana Beef Industry’, pointed out that the potential threat is not far-fetched in that BMC has operated at idle capacity since the 1980s when its throughput began to steadily decline.

In addition to that, such eminent threat is also reflected in the poor financial performance of the BMC, characterised by declining and negative profits. The researchers also believed that Botswana’s competitiveness is enhanced by the duty/quota free access of its beef exports to the EU market, while the country’s key competitors are subject to high import duties in the same market.

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