New information has emerged that the embattled Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is losing millions of Pula to truck owners contracted by the parastatal to transport cattle to its abattoirs.It is alleged that truck owners are basically being paid for not delivering the right number of cattle. Evidence gathered by the Botswana Guardian suggests that in an “odd” business model, truck owners doing business with the meat processor make a killing by what their trucks measure and not necessarily what they deliver.
And now some truck owners who have enough money buy standard trucks measuring 29 metres long but later modify them to 40metres. Many of the trucks are said to exceed the required Road Safety requirements. “They are just modified so that the owners get money from the BMC,” said a source. This, according to the source, has chased away small business truck owners. Trucks measuring 40 metres are supposed to deliver 120 heads of cattle but because it is always difficult to get that number from farmers, the BMC has apparently concluded that such trucks should at least deliver 90 animals but will be paid the full amount as if they have delivered 120 animals.
There are three types of trucks delivering for the BMC according to a source; those measuring 40 metres; 29 metres and those measuring 15metres. Trucks measuring 29metres have a carrying capacity of 80 animals, whilst those measuring 15metre carry 50 animals. A 40metre truck transporting cattle from Gantsi to Lobatse is paid about P40 896 per trip. The amount is reached by multiplying the length of the truck by distance travelled and the P1.6 rate set by BMC.
This means that at least per head, such a truck owner gets P340.8 but with 90 animals or less being transported BMC pays more than P10 000 to the truck owner for nothing. Travelling the same distance a 29metre truck will be paid P29 649.6 while the 15metre truck will get P15 336. But according to sources these trucks will be carrying about the same number of cattle. “Big trucks are delivering less but they are paid a lot of money,” said one source. This evidence was collaborated this week by Member of Parliament for Kanye North Kentse Rammidi when giving evidence before Parliament Select committee.
He said trucks owner contracted by BMC to transport cattle are being paid according to the length of their trucks but not according to the number of animals. “This should not be the case because truck owners are paid money according to the length of their trucks, whether they carry two heads of cattle or a truck full of cattle,” he told the committee.
Rammidi however said he was not privy to information as to how much these truck owners are being paid by BMC, but Botswana Guardian’s investigations have revealed that the parastatal is losing money through the system. A cattle transporter representative revealed that the BMC system is not a good business model.