Saturday, October 24, 2020

BAMB faces financial meltdown

Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board is among state owned parastatals that face a meltdown, unless Government intervenes with a bailout.

The impending implosion is a result of a combination of factors, including low sales by a majority of BAMB depots, but also an outcome of serious strategic errors on the part of the senior executive management and the Board at BAMB.

BAMB sales ledgers seen by Sunday Standard indicate that a majority of BAMB depots across the country are trading at a loss.

Management accounts at BAMB show that owing to low sales the parastatal is trading on the red, having exhausted the facilities that it had received from the banks.

To date BAMB has recorded sales of P158 million, against the year to date budget of P206 million. This is a budget deficit of P48 million.

But mystery surround the P700 million worth of beans currently stored at BAMB silos which is not being sold.

Management style of the current Chief Executive Officer Nyalalani Woto has also come under intense scrutiny from critics who accuse him of glob trotting without provide the much needed strategic direction to the state owned parastatal.

Some of the employees at BAMB who Sunday Standard talked to said the CEO was more focused preparing for next elections which he hopes to contest under the ruling party ticket in the Nkange constituency.

Woto hopes to unseat or replace incumbent Member of Parliament, Edwin Batshu who is also Minister of Labour and Home Affairs.

“It is clear he has political ambitions. There is nothing wrong with that. But under its current state BAMB needs a CEO who has a long-term vision. Not one who has one leg in and another leg out,” said a BAMB employee. 

A decision by BAMB management give the politically powerful farmers at Mosesedi Farms in the Barolong/Goodhope constituency seeds, chemicals and fertilizers on credit only for some of the farmers to later return some of the goods because they did not need it has called into question the apparent political interest of the CEO and some in his management.

Strained relations between Management and staff have also not helped the situation.

A weak Board of Directors has also come under harsh criticism for not holding management accountable.

“The Board does not seem to know what its job is. All they do is travel around the country or abroad. And receive gifts from management, a practice that blinds them to the shortcomings of the without

This, insiders say, has resulted in demoralised staff that in turn do  not give attention to what is needed to help turn the state owned enterprise around.

Favoritism, nepotism and cronyism are said to be the order of the day, not only when it comes to staff placement but also in the just ended restructuring exercise.

Poor adherence to ethics and governance has seen some of the suppliers also dabbling as part employees, including sitting on the Board.

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