Monday, March 4, 2024

Non milling companies awarded tenders to import maize, millers cry foul

Maize Milling companies have expressed concern over the awarding of maize product tenders to non milling companies – a move they feel undermines the efforts of local manufactures.

Though there is no piece of legislation that stipulates that milling companies should be given first preference, millers believe that, as part of promoting local manufacturers, they should be given the first preference. In any case, companies which might have won tenders should outsource from them instead of outsourcing elsewhere.

This complaint follows the awarding of a tender for the supply of 2400 metric tons of white maize samp to non milling companies by the Local Government Finance and Procurement Services.

In a letter written to the different bidders on the 12th July 2013 by Local Government Finance and Procurement Services, it read the tender had been given to Bonanza Equipment PTY LTD and Megabyte Doctor PTY Ltd. Of the 2400 tons Bonanza Equipment will supply 1,628 metric tons while Megabyte Doctor will supply 774 metric tons.

Bonanza Equipment PTY Ltd specializes in mechanical contracting, industrial catering and laundry equipment while Megabyte Doctor specializes in computer hardware.

A concerned miller, who preferred anonymity, said he is surprised that non milling companies outclassed the milling companies and won the tender. “They don’t manufacture these products instead they go to South Africa to outsource, promoting the South African manufactures,” he said.

Millers are of the view that this defeats efforts to grow the local manufacturing sector.
“We are appealing to government to give us a chance to supply them as we have the capability,” he said.

Commenting on the issue, the Chairman of Maize and Wheat Millers Association (MWMA), Nkosi Mwaba, said it is of great concern to the industry that tenders for maize products are being awarded to non-millers.

Mwaba said it is even more disturbing that these companies are being allowed to source their supplies from outside the country when there is an active and capable Milling industry here in Botswana.

“We cannot blame the non-millers for winning the tenders as they have seen and taken advantage of a business opportunity, what we would like to see, however, is the Government actively giving preference to local producers,” said Mwaba.

Mwaba encouraged government and private sector not to fall back on the tools and mechanisms such as the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), and the Local Purchase preference Scheme which are actively in place and designed to govern and police fair opportunities for local industries.

When reached for comment on how the two tenders were awarded, a Mrs Mokwena, from Local Government Finance and Procurement Services, noted that the issue was beyond her reach and directed us to the Director who was not available to comment.

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