Meat Board Takes Exception to Reports

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The Meat Board of Namibia was confronted by two extremely disturbing articles that appeared in the New Era, 15 February 2006 and the Namibia Today, 17 February 2006, implying poor financial management, status and performance of the Meat Board and which contained totally unfounded and highly speculative statements. Even a confidential board submission on income generating and cost saving measures was released to the press. The Meat Board herewith wishes to categorically state that its financial management is sound and annually subjected to auditing from the Auditor-General’s office through an independent private auditing firm. All audited reports of the Meat Board are besides being audited according to General Accepted Accounting Principles, audited against the annual Meat Board budget approved by Cabinet, are up to date, annually being submitted to Cabinet, and thereafter becoming public documents. Furthermore, all financial statements are on a regular basis submitted to the Executive Committee and Board of the Meat Board for scrutiny, recommendations and resolutions. The Meat Board has occasionally upon its own initiative contracted auditing companies to validate the financial statements of certain projects. Furthermore, the management of the Meat Board operates within strict Meat Board Policy and Resolutions, which are subject to regular revision depending on the circumstances. It is standard practice of any organisation on an annual basis to revisit its income versus expenditure and to put strategies in place for up to even two or three years ahead to ensure the future viability of the institution. This is indeed what the Meat Board strives to do. The Meat Board renders a crucial function of national interest to the meat industry of Namibia. It receives no external funding, also from Government and is solely funded from levies generated by the meat producers of the meat industry. As the demand to stay competitive internationally grew, so did expenditure. Since the levy tariff had for the past ten years not increased, besides lately during 2005, some remedial action was proposed. The Meat Board administers a number of Meat Board funds, government funds and industry funds and only the financial status of the General Fund needs to be addressed in future. It is a pity that this individual who released such sensitive information to the press, for reasons only known to him, created major suspicion in Government, with whom the Meat Board had built extremely good relationships over the years; donor agencies, with whom the Meat Board is engaged in soliciting funds for several meat industry projects; also shaken the confidence of Meat Board personnel; and with people whom the Board have held in respect. The Meat Board is proud of its performance and stature in the industry, and is always open to discuss and respond to any request forwarded to the Meat Board. Job Hengari Chairman: Meat Board of Namibia NB: Your own internal memo that outlines the financial position of the Meat Board and dated February 16, 2006 points to a financial crisis. In its introduction, the document drawn up by Mr S. Mbuti, Finance and Administration Manager, states “The Meat Board’s current financial status is a cause for concern.” So why try to deny the crisis. After all, this comes from the man who should know better. If anything, we did not imply that the Meat Board was in a poor financial status. It was said by your man and everything contained in the document points towards that. Lastly, you claim that the Meat Board is always open to discuss and respond to any requests forwarded to it but in our case all your men chose not to play open cards with us. They declined to comment and the General Manager failed to return our call despite being asked to through his Secretary. – Editor