N$2.5m salaries bailout for Agribusdev

01 November 2019 | Economics

The agriculture ministry will seek treasury approval in order to divert N$2.5 million that will be used to pay Agribusdev staff, who are yet to receive their September salaries.

Agribusdev workers this week threatened to go on strike if they do not receive their September and October salaries in the next week.

According to staff members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, they were promised for two months that government had secured funds to assist them.

With their third-party payments for medical aid, pension and housing not being paid, several workers are facing the repossession of their cars and foreclosure of their homes.

At least four people said they have been kicked out of places they rent.

Agriculture ministry executive director Percy Misika emphasised they had previously allocated N$35 million to the troubled entity to operationalise farms and green schemes under its management.

“That N$35 million is not for salaries. The ministry is trying to see how we can assist them and it is difficult if we do not have the funds.

“We have for now identified an area where we can take the N$2.5 million from, which they need to pay their salaries. And for that we need treasury approval and we do not know how long it will take,” he said.

Misika also said Agribusdev must be able to stand on its own feet and sustain itself.

Agriculture minister Alfeus !Naruseb also said Agribusdev should be able to generate its own funds.

“We have asked them to provide us with a business plan and we are assisting to look at it, in order to determine how they can streamline their business to become self-sustainable,” he said.

Agribusdev CEO Petrus Uugwanga said yesterday they had received the N$2.5 million from government.

He also sees no problem with making the entity self-sustainable.

“We have the capacity; once we do what we must, we are home and dry,” he added.

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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