The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale says the embattled parastatal should be privatised in order to allow for other players to compete in the market. Tombale said this at the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises last week.
According to Tombale, there is need to liberalise the meat market, adding that Botswana should take a leaf from Namibia and invite more players into the industry as they will be instrumental to diversification. Tombale’s call for privatisating BMC follows cascading developments at the BMC abattoirs at Maun and Francistown which he says are impacting negatively on the parastatals’ financials.
“Run commercially, BMC cannot operate both Francistown and Lobatse together especially for European Union(EU) market. BMC Francistown and Maun now solely depends solely on BMC Lobatse for financial support,” said Tombale.
With regards to the BMC plant in Francistown, Tombale said, “As per its operational history the average throughput for past 10 years was at 44 percent whereas the break even for the plant is at 85 percent. Gradual decline in slaughter numbers can also be noticed. This has contributed to poor performance of the plant and become uneconomical to operate.”
According to its 2014 Audited Financial Report, BMC has a total deficit for the year of P9 million (2013; a surplus of P26 million and P28 million respectively). The total liabilities of the group and commission exceed the total assets by P109 and P248 million respectively.
In 2011, the then BMC Chief Executive Officer, David Falepau, decried privatisation and deregulation of BMC as being a complex one that will negatively affect farmers and BMC, adding that privatisation and deregulation of the meat processing will put farmers at risk of a monopoly that might not reward them what is sufficient for their cattle.
BMC is a government owned abattoir that slaughters cattle and exports beef.