U-turn on Fysal, Namsov out

Namsov decided to vacate the Ongwediva fresh-produce hub premises last Wednesday.

06 June 2019 | Agriculture

The Agro-Marketing Trading Agency (AMTA) has given Fysal Fresh Produce another three-month contract to operate from its Ongwediva fresh-produce hub, but could not save a trial agreement with Namsov from falling apart.

Last Friday Fysal Fresh was ready to end their operations at the hub, but the agency has now extended their contract by three months.

In February last year, Namsov and Fysal entered into a trial agreement to operate from the hub.

Fysal Fresh signed a yearlong agreement, while Namsov signed a six-month contract, both of which could be renewed depending on supply and demand.

Namsov set up a fish-supplying point, but after their contract ended things fell apart with the AMTA management and the two entities did not renew the contract on time.

A source said AMTA had been frustrating Namsov's operations.

“The operations have been fine for the first six months. After that we were told to close the operations, while the two entities were reviewing the contract. It took about three months before we were informed to start operating again. It was so frustrating because one day we were working and the following we were told to stop,” the source said.

Namsov decided to vacate the fresh-produce hub premises last Wednesday.

AMTA managing director Lungameni Lucas has written a letter to Namsov apologising and begging them to continue operating from the hub, because their services are crucial to AMTA.

“AMTA would like to inform you that your services at the hub have been considered favourably and hereby is informing you to continue operating at the hub for the next three months, while we are in the process of finalising the contract,” Lucas wrote.

“You have been one of our valuable clients by contributing toward our company's success, as well as the community of the region… regardless of the shortcomings experienced. We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience caused and trust you will be able to reconsider continuity with AMTA.”

Namsov was, however, unmoved and are relocating their fish-supplying facilities from the hub.

Namsov's Herman Smidt confirmed this.

“We had a pilot project at AMTA Ongwediva, but we decided to end it and we are relocating somewhere else in town,” Smidt said.

AMTA spokesperson Meke Namindo could not provide any detail, saying she has not yet been briefed by the technical staff.

Fysal Group CEO Ismael David Fysal told Namibian Sun they were ready to retrench 60 employees and end their AMTA operations, when they were approached for a contract extension on Friday.

“It was a confusion on Friday when the AMTA people asked us if we can stay for another three months to keep the place busy again. We were busy relocating our facilities and sent some employees to their houses,” Fysal said.

“To avoid operating on the premises illegally, I asked them to put it on paper, which they did on Monday. They said that within a month they will tell us what will happen to us after the three months.”

Fysal is the last remaining private agent to operate from AMTA's Ongwediva fresh-produce hub since February, and will now be operating alone until the end of August. The other agent vacated the premises in February after a cabinet directive.

In February last year, AMTA entered into a public-private-partnership agreement with Fysal Fresh to operate from its fresh-produce hubs nationwide, which joined four other agents that were already operating at the hubs. Although Fysal Fresh was only given a one-year contract, the deal was heavily criticised in some circles. Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila visited the Ongwediva hub in September last year after receiving complaints that Fysal Fresh was sourcing produce from South Africa and trading it at the government hub.



ILENI NANDJATO

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