Cold Storage Company workers have urged the government to act quickly on Boustead Beef Zimbabwe which took over the operations of the country’s largest meat processor but has failed to revamp the parastatal saying its management could strip the company of its assets.
Boustead Beef, which was said to be a British investor, entered into an agreement with the government last year to takeover and manage the CSC for 25 years.
Under the agreement Boustead Beef was supposed to:
- raise and invest a minimum of US$130 million into CSC over five years, being for both capital expenditures and working capital for the business;
- pay off CSC financial debts totalling US$42 530 597;
- pay rentals of US$100 000 per annum during the first five years of the concession agreement;
- take over and run the management of the following CSC ranches for an initial period of 25 years: Maphaneni; Dubane; Umguza; Chivumbuni; Mushandike; Willsgrove; and Darwendale;
- take over and run the management of the following abattoirs for an initial period of 25 years: Bulawayo; Chinhoyi; Masvingo; Marondera; and Kadoma; and
- take over and manage for an initial period of 25 years, the Harare, Gweru and Mutare distribution centres and residential properties of CSC.
New Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka told Parliament on Wednesday that the company had failed to perform so the government was in the process of reviewing the agreement.
Responding to a question from Umzingwane legislator Levi Mayihlome on the future of the CSC, Masuka said: “The CSC has gone through very turbulent times over the past 10 to 15 years to an extend that it is operating at between 8 and 10% capacity and all its ranches are literally moribund.
“To that extent, government scouted for a partner that came on board with certain performance parameters. Unfortunately, those performance parameters have not been fully met and Government is in the process of reviewing that arrangement so that CSC can get back to what it used to be – to develop the lives of industry and complement Government efforts especially in the light of the recently launched livestock growth plan.”
Binga South legislator Gabbuza Joel Gabbuza asked Masuka whether the government did not have the capacity to carry out proper due diligence on partners before engaging them because this was not the first time that the government had selected a partner who had failed to perform.
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