Saturday, October 24, 2020

Opposition big boys gnaw on the bone with meat chief Tombale

Botswana has to device sound regulations of its meat industry, according to two top leaders in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko and Ndaba Gaolathe.

This comes just days after the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale told the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises that the embattled parastatal should be privatised in order to allow other players to compete in the market.

UDC President Boko said having a meat regulator would be advantageous as it would help with altering the functions of various players in the industry including BMC. Amongst other things, Boko said this would ensure an efficient system which would result in the growth of the industry in Botswana.

Last week, Tombale told the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies that there was a need to liberalise the meat market, adding that Botswana should take a leaf from Namibia and invite more players into the industry as they would be instrumental to diversification. 

Tombale’s call for privatisation of BMC follows cascading developments at the commission’s Maun and Francistown abattoirs which he says are impacting negatively on the parastatals’ financials.

Apart from calling for a review of the BMC Act, Boko said there was a need to analyse whether it was feasible to separate the Lobatse abattoir from the Francistown and Maun facilities. He also remains optimistic that there is a way of returning BMC to profitability and efficiency.

Tombale also shared the same sentiments saying it was critical for the industry to have a regulator as that would not only protect farmers, but also the market as there would be compliance. He said the regulatory body would ultimately answer concerns of liberalising BMC, and would also be the one to decide whether Botswana needed one entity as an exporter or multiple.

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