Bots beef industry teeters

Gaborone – Botswana’s beef industry is on the verge of collapse, raising concerns that if not addressed urgently the once promising revenue earner could affect the country’s economy.
The beef industry was once one of Botswana’s top revenue earners after the diamond and tourism sectors.
Following reports that all was not well at the state-owned parastatal, Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), Parliament has set up a committee to investigate the state of affairs at meat entity and the declining performance of the beef industry.
The committee, consisting of eight legislators chaired by MP Mephato Reatile, has already begun its assignment.
According to MP Reatile, the committee will conduct public hearings, where they will call and interview several resource persons and experts to unravel the problems besieging the meat commission.
“Members of the public keen to give evidence would be given a chance to come before the committee and countrywide hearings will also be held.
“We have decided to introduce electronic mail and interactive social media accounts, which will be availed to facilitate submissions of evidence on condition of anonymity,” he said.
The committee, Reatile said, will also investigate factors contributing to the decline of the country's beef industry and speak to “ordinary Batswana who are BMC stakeholders”.
The Parliamentary Committee investigations come fast on the heels of another investigation on BMC operations last October by a team appointed by the Office of the President.
He said the report compiled by the select committee would be made public upon completion.
MP Reatile is quoted as saying that it was up to the minister to share the report with the committee.
Parliamentary counsel, Thebe Ramokhua, who is part of the committee's secretariat, revealed that the committee would have the power to subpoena anybody who they believe has evidence.
He explained that once the report is made public, it would be up to the people who have the necessary powers to prosecute all those found culpable or implement the recommendations.

February 2013
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