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AMTA shies away from sending begging bowl to government … projected to suffer a N$9million deficit

by Kelvin Chiringa

Managing Director for the Agro-Marketing Trade Agency (AMTA), Lungameni Lucas, has indicated that they are set to have a deficit of N$9 million in the operational budget of 2018/2019 but has made it clear that this does not mean that they are calling for a bailout from the government.  

Lucas indicated this following a presentation he made before agriculture, water and forestry minister, Alpheus !Naruseb, who had gone on a facility familiarisation tour last week. 

Said Lucas via email, “The request is for government to implement the cabinet directive of 2nd/11.03.14/008 which requires all OMA’s to procure fresh produce from the Fresh Produce Hubs (hubs) and in addition procure grain flour/meal from the National Strategic Food Reserves (silos).  The procurement of commodities from government marketing infrastructures (hubs and silos) will increase AMTA income and ensure self-sustainability for AMTA.” 

By the start of August last year, AMTA had already run out of its funds for the year and stopped buying crops from farmers which led to emergency meetings with the parent ministry to ponder over the crisis. 

Reports were such that N$26 million would be allocated as bail-out from the Agronomic Board’s reserves.

The current financial year is set to be a difficult one for most government controlled entities that had created an unsustainable culture of depending on bail-outs, and this was made clear by the SOEs minister beginning of the year when he met parastatals top-management.

The reliance on government also came at the back of the entities’ failure to reveal their financials. 

For financial years 2017/18 alone, public enterprises swallowed a whopping total budget allocation of more than N$4 billion.

Guarantees extended to the SOEs in total amount to close to N$9 billion and although they sit with an asset value of N$91 billion, it has also come out that the total liabilities held stand at a staggering N$ 43 billion.

In the current medium term economic framework, transfers to SOEs have been reduced once again to little over N$4million, down from over N$6billion in the previous financial year, with large transfers still being seen to be educational institutions and transport institutions particularly, observes analyst Roland Brown in an April Special Briefing Report.