NAMIBIA –Namibia has allocated N$66.7 million (US$4.4M)  to the country’s largest meat processor MeatCo in the budget for the financial year 2023/2024 even as it continues to review the viability of the state-owned company.

Minister of Finance, Iipumbu Shiimi, revealed that the government had received a forensic report by a local firm analysing the state of affairs and viability of the state-owned meat processor.

Speaking during the presentation of the country’s financial budget, Shiimi disclosed that the government is going through the report with a view to securing the long-term sustainability of the beef sector.

“We recognize the ongoing difficulties at MeatCo, and realize the importance of the entity in anchoring the performance of the livestock sub-sector and the economy broadly,” Shiimi said.

He revealed that the government is carrying out an in-depth review and analysis of MeatCo’s business strategy, business plan and funding structure and interrogating the results and recommendations of the report.

In response to these developments, Rally for Democracy and Progress leader Mike Kavekotora called for the report to be laid bare for all stakeholders to make an independent analysis.

This follows allegations from different sources that the corporation is battling a financial decline phase and faces the threat to be liquidated.

The Minister of Agriculture, Calle Schlettwein, recently described the entity as a dying cow in ICU, adding that the state is soon going to have to make a decision regarding the closure of the organisation.

Business revival on track

The company has indeed been grappling with debt but according to the CEO, Mr Mushokabanji, they implemented a robust strategy to pay off the outstanding debt of N$250 million (US$16.79M) from FNB Namibia and another N$94 million (US$ 6.31M) to Bank Windhoek.

The CEO disclosed that repaying the debt was their biggest challenge in the past few years but they can now put it behind them.

The corporation also played a significant role in the nation’s fulfilment of their allocated Southern African Customs Union Norwegian 2022 beef quota of 3,200 tonnes.

Namibia not only fulfilled the exportation of their quota to Norway but also exported an additional 225 tonnes on behalf of Botswana which could not fully export its share.

“Through our Norwegian quota, in particular, MeatCo has never failed to fill our allocated quota. In fact, MeatCo assisted to fill part of the Norway quota for Botswana,” Mushokabanji said.

The company also facilitates the exportation of meat and meat products to importing countries such as Ghana and Angola with the hopes of expanding Namibia’s beef exports to the Middle East as well.

According to Mushokabanji, MeatCo is the only commercial public enterprise in Africa exporting to luxury markets and maintaining access for Namibian beef to traditional export markets like South Africa, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway.

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