BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
Government has kick-started the long awaited privatization of the Botswana Meat commission (BMC) with the decision to retain the Maun Abattoir as a government entity for strategic purposes.
The proposed budget for the process of privatizing BMC along with the Lobatse and Francistown Abattoirs is P8.7 million. This amount will be going to the engaged consultants while transaction advisors will be pocketing P4.2 million.
Briefing journalists on Friday last week, Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatization Agency (PEEPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ezekiel Moumakwa revealed that Deloitte Consulting has been selected as the preferred transaction advisors for the concession of the Maun Abattoir.
“We issued a tender in March 2019 seeking the services of a Transaction Advisor to assist us with separating the Maun Abattoir from BMC Lobatse and Francistown and engaging a Concessionaire to operate the Maun Abattoir,” he said.
Moumakwa said that the separation of the Maun Abattoir is just one part of the privatisation of the whole BMC. He said the next step will involve registering BMC as a limited liability company under the Companies Act; developing a privatisation strategy that provides the various options on how BMC can be privatised; as well as recommending and implementing the optimal privatisation method after approval by Cabinet.
“Maun Abattoir serves farmers in the Red Zone. It is strategically placed to deter farmers from smuggling cattle from these Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) infested areas into the Green Zone as this would endanger Botswana’s beef industry,” said Moumakwa.
The PEEPA CEO said that after a rigorous tendering and selection process, Minchin & Kelly were selected as the preferred Consultants for the Privatisation of BMC. He added that their responsibilities will include carrying out a business, financial and human resource assessment of BMC; valuation of BMC; developing a strategy and transaction plan to guide the privatisation; and submitting a comprehensive Project Completion Report at the end of the project. He said the report is expected in 10 weeks.
“We want Batswana farmers to participate and the privatisation of BMC has a direct impact on their livelihoods. Their concerns and suggestions were duly noted and taken on-board,” he said.
Quizzed on the financial status of BMC, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Secutiry Jimmy Opelo said that BMC is not insolvent but admitted that it has been struggling with its cash flow. He also said that BMC problems have been cumulating over many years adding that the commission has been getting subversions from government.
“We are ensuring that privatisation is fair, transparent and in the best interests of Batswana. We just recently appointed the full board of directors and recommendations of the substantive of the BMC CEO has been put forward,” said Opelo.
He also said that the BMC Transition Bill has not yet reached Parliament adding that they are hoping to speed up the process. Opelo said the matter is currently at the Attorney General Chambers.