Friday, June 21, 2024

Bolux disputes PS statements

The Bolux Group appears to be spurning statements made by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Banny Molosiwa, at the Public Accounts Committee meeting.

During the PAC meeting, Molosiwa talked about the purchases and the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) programme, when she accused the milling companies, like Bolux, for importing flour and maize from South Africa but claiming that it was produced locally.

Molosiwa’s assertion has left many wondering if the local millers are indeed manufacturing or are disguising production while relying on imports.

Nkosi Mwaba the Group Corporate Affairs Manager, said Molosiwa was not justified, saying, instead, that she beat around the bush, failing to address the real issue which is that of power cuts.

“Bolux business is transparent; there is nothing hidden from the Ministry of Trade and Industry; they know that we manufacture our products,” he said.

Mwaba said Bolux has not been able to meet its capacity in the last six months due to power cuts.
“This incapacitated the production level hence we approached the Ministry of Trade and explained our problem of shortages of the market for our products,” he said.

He revealed that subsequent to the power cuts, Bolux engaged BPC and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to map the way forward to avoid shortages in the market.

“We put up our proposal to supplement the shortfall and it was agreed upon with the ministry to import as a temporary measure,” said Mwaba.

After successful deliberations with the ministry, Bolux was issued with an import permit. So far, the company has imported 1.500 tonnes of wheat from South Africa in the last six months and their annual production is around 60 000 tonnes.

“We want to set the record straight that, as Bolux, all our imports are done legally as per trade regulations,” he said. “When we import flour we pay 15 percent wheat levy.”

Mwaba said the PS allegations have not done any good, saying, instead, they undermine efforts to diversify the economy.

“Bolux has been in existence in Botswana for more than 30 years and our performance cannot be gauged on EDD,” he said.

In the last six months, Mwaba said, they have incurred losses to meet their market obligation.
“We don’t claim and we are not lying about our production, we do not import flour for the sake of it and every time we import we are very open about it,” he said.

He added that the Ministry of Trade has sent a delegation to inspect Bolux operations and it’s surprising how they turn around and attack them.

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