The Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia, has opened up the possibility of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) undergoing a restructuring exercise in a bid to improve operational efficiency.
In his address to the media, Ralotsia pointed out that he was in the process of making a plan to have the parastatal privatised, adding that he would soon furnish Cabinet with the proposals and all necessary details.
Ralotsia’s assertions follow a string of advices from the BMC CEO Dr Akolang Tombale and the leaders of opposition parties for Botswana to device sound regulations of its meat industry.
A few weeks ago at the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises, Tombale said the embattled parastatal should be privatised in order to allow other players to compete in the market.
Amongst other things, Ralotsia also said part of his proposals include the separation of the Lobatse abattoir from Maun and Francistown. He said the separation was necessitated by the fact that the Lobatse abattoir, although doing well, had to support the other two that were running at a loss. However, the Lobatse abattoir is in need of over P2 billion in order to undergo a facelift.
Tombale revealed that government had injected P93 million into the parastatal, adding that there was need for Botswana to establish a proper meat regulator which would be followed by privatisation of BMC.
With regards to the Francistown BMC plant, he indicated that despite numerous intervention strategies put in place, the plant was running at a loss due to low throughput of cattle. Ralotsia also echoed the same sentiments stating that the Francistown abattoir had a target to slaughter 400 cattle per day, but had never even managed half of that quota since inception.
The calls for the privatisation of BMC follows cascading developments at the commission’s Maun and Francistown abattoirs which he says are impacting negatively on the parastatals’ financials.