Government Sticks to 30 Percent Shareholding in Meatco

More than a year after Aocate Vekuii Rukoro taking over as the Chief Executive Officer of Meatc, the strategic issue of the company’s ownership still remains unresolved, a concern that was echoed at last Friday’s Meatco’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Windhoek.

However, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF), Joseph Iita says Cabinet’s decision about Government’s 30 percent stake in the company is final and the delay is caused by the many cogs in the legal system. “Meatco is aware of the process and I don’t understand why the company should be specially informed about it because Cabinet’s decision is law. End of the story,” he says. The Meatco ownership wrangle started in 2011 when MAWF Minister of Agriculture, John Mutorwa, announced a Cabinet decision that 70 percent of ownership of Meatco should be made up of a cooperative of commercial and communal farmers who sold livestock to Meatco, and that the government should own the remaining 30 percent.

In response to that decision, Meatco members held a special meeting at the end of 2012, attended by more than 300 producers – half of them from communal areas and the other half from the commercial sector. The members were unanimous in their rejection of the government’s proposal on Meatco’s future ownership, operational structure and legal framework, specifically in terms of the 30 percent government’s shareholding, representation of Namibia’s regions on the board and the profit sharing by the government. In principle, Meatco’s members are prepared to compromise and grant the 30 percent stake to government, provided it pays for the stake in cash or in kind. However, the members would not allow interference with Meatco’s day-to-day management.

These conditions were communicated to the government but by the end of the financial year 201314 under discussion at last Friday’s AGM, the strategic issue had not yet been resolved. Meatco says the situation creates uncertainty, which is not good for business. “However, we trust that the ownership issue will be resolved in 2014 to the agreement of all stakeholders, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the corporation,” Meatco concludes.

Source : New Era