It has come to light that Meatco has been selling its products at significantly cheaper prices on the international market compared to its local competitors.

The company is bleeding financially and is being bailed out by the government regularly.

The Bank of Namibia, in a damning report to the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, estimates that Meatco's revenue was N$4 billion less than its local competitors, which export meat to the same market, between 2018 and 2023.

According to data provided in the letter by the Bank of Namibia, Meatco exported 83.3 million kilogrammes of meat with a total revenue of N$2.1 billion.

This income, the Bank of Namibia says, is significantly under-declared compared to its competitors selling in the same market, while it holds 73% of the market share.

For instance, in the Norwegian market, Meatco was selling its meat for N$28 per kg, while Beefcor was selling for N$154 and Farmers Meat Market was selling for N$211.

In South Africa, the scenario of Meatco playing second fiddle to its competitors is the same, where even Hartlief is getting more than double the price per kg than Meatco. 

Hartlief was getting N$76 to Meatco's N$31.93. Brukaros Meat Processors was even getting a better price at N$88.

Meatco also had around 2,000 kg of stock valued at close to N$130 million lying in its freezers while it was going bankrupt.

In its report, the central bank commented on the potential revenue the meat processing company could have made if its products were exported at comparative prices.

Bank of Namibia, in its communication, reveals that Meatco is using a marketing agency known as GPS Food Group in the UK, which is also used by its competitors.

According to the Bank of Namibia, its investigation shows that the price at which Meatco's beef is sold by GPS is less than half the price fetched by its competitors using the same agency.

The Bank of Namibia's conservative estimates are that Meatco could have made N$6.1 billion instead of the N$2.1 billion it made between 2018 and 2023, which could easily have absorbed the losses of N$636 million it suffered over the six-year period.

The central bank called on the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises to institute a forensic audit into the affairs of Meatco.

Approached for comment, the chairperson of Meatco's interim board, Sakaria Nghikembua, says the board will properly apply its collective mind to all the matters at hand before making any statements to the media. The term of the interim board comes to an end by the end of February, and Nghikembua says a comprehensive statement will be released before the end of the board's term.

Photo Credits
New Era


Da'oud Vries