BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZIMBABWE’S Cold Storage Company (CSC) owes Botswana’s Meat Commission (BMC) over 1,2 million pula, a debt that dates back to 2012, for live cattle sold to the CSC.
According to Botswana government media reports, quoting that country’s Auditor-General’s Report for the 2018/2019 financial year released last week, Zimbabwe owes her neighbour P1 239 000 for sale of live cattle to CSC.
The sale of live cattle to CSC followed the signing of a trade agreement in 2011 between the two countries from then foot-and-mouth infested Zone VI in Botswana, which is along the border with Zimbabwe to curb the spread of the disease.
The revelation comes at a time government has approved a joint venture between the CSC and United Kingdom-based firm, Boustead Beef (Pvt) Limited.
The latter has committed US$130 million into the revival of CSC, Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa (pictured) has said, adding that this “is to be revitalised through a concession agreement under rehabilitate, operate and transfer terms”.
The UK investor is expected to pay off CSC’s debts totalling US$42 530 597 among them, Botswana’s BMC. Other funds will be for capital expenditure and working capital as part of moves to revive the former meat processing giant which, at its peak, employed thousands.
Zimbabwe and Botswana entered into the cattle trade agreement in 2011 in an effort to improve the beef market of the two countries while at the same time reducing over-population of slaughter stock in the delta areas of Botswana.
Under the deal, at least 60 000 animals were going to be slaughtered annually over the duration of the agreement.
The country fulfilled the first phase of the deal in July 2011, a development that saw CSC slaughtering more than 25 000 cattle from that country.
Botswana was to sell at least 2 500 cattle a month to Zimbabwe, but the deal collapsed a few years after CSC failed to pay BMC for later cattle deliveries.
The trade agreement resumed again based on new negotiations.