Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cabinet under pressure to give BMC green light to retrench

Cabinet led by President Ian Khama is under pressure to give Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) the green light to retrench some of its employees.

Sources revealed that BMC through the Ministry of Agriculture has since notified government of the need to retrench some of its employees in order to reduce its high costs of production.

This publication has learnt that Cabinet is still undecided on the matter but time is not on their side as the Ministry of Agriculture wants decision to be reached to save the cash strapped BMC.

The matter also surfaced on Monday when Member of Parliament for Francistown West Ignatius Moswaane asked the Minister of Agriculture if he was aware that there are plans to retrench workers at Botswana Meat Commission.

Replying, the Ministry of Agriculture acknowledged that plans are in place to retrench some of the Botswana Meat Commission employees.

“I am aware that the Botswana Meat Commission is considering retrenching some of its staff in order to reduce its high costs of production and the matter is still to be considered by cabinet,”  Kgotla Autwetse. 

The Ministry of Agriculture is yet to compile an estimated number of employees to be retrenched.

In August last year Parliament approved the request for a capital injection of P300 million to relieve the failing Botswana Meat Commission from its financial crisis. 

The request for cash injection into the failing BMC was tabled by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo and it received support from Parliament.

Around August last year BMC was sitting on a debt of over P760 million. These were loans obtained from government and other financial institutions. 

By the end of last year Botswana Meat Commission was at least owing government around P594 millions in loans. 

Other debts included, P125 million to upgrade the Francistown plant and another P50 million from Banc ABC to resuscitate the Maun plant.

In 2014, the commission obtained a P300 million loan from Standard Chartered Bank in an effort to speed up payments to farmers seeking cash on delivery for cattle purchased.

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