New Life for !Uri !Khubis

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK Plans are afoot to revive the !Uri !Khubis abattoir, which was liquidated after losses running into millions of dollars last year. The latest group to be interested in reviving the meat processing plant is of Norwegians who called on Omaheke Regional Governor Laura McLeod this week. The regional council, according to McLeod, felt the pinch after the closure of the abattoir because it in some ways took care of the region’s problems by easing unemployment. “When it was operational, it took care of some of the problems by reducing the rate of unemployment, crime and to a certain extent improved the lives of the people,” she told New Era. The council, said McLeod, made a resolution to revive the abattoir and make it operational again. The !Uri !Khubis Abattoir was one of the major developmental projects of the Omaheke region, the region known as the cattle country. “We want to facilitate the process and get it back on track.” A six-member Norwegian business delegation, interested in running the abattoir, called on the governor on Monday to discuss the business venture. It had a meeting with representatives of farmers’ associations, traditional authorities and counsellors. “They were here to familiarise themselves and to tell us that they want to invest in the abattoir and also to see whether there is commitment from the politicians and the farmers for the abattoir to work,” said the governor. However, there was no agreement reached because McLeod said there are a few issues to consider. She said there has also been interest from local business people, who the regional council would want to meet and see how they want to get involved. McLeod could however not say when this would materialise because the Norwegians have their own schedule. The region is looking into the participation of local people to come up with a joint venture. “It is a state asset and we would want it to benefit Namibians,” she added. But contacted for comment yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Agri-bank, Leonard Ipumbu declined to comment on the matter. Ipumbu said !Uri !Khubis is a public project and it needs to be handled with care. “We will only come to you when we have concluded the negotiations and have all the information,” he promised. The abattoir received N$38 million from Agri-bank, N$5 million from the GIPF and a further N$4 million from Namibian Harvest Investments.