THE Namibia Northern Abattoirs (NNA) has spent close to N$800 000 in a period of two years as maximum demand fees for utilising Northern Electricity Distributor (NORED) services.
The Ministry of Agriculture, as the owner of two newly built local abattoirs at Eenhana and Outapi, entered into a lease agreement with the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association for ten years.
The Eenhana abattoir came into operation in 2018 and was handed over in 2019, however, it is yet to be officially inaugurated.
NNA chairperson, Ben Shikongo, said that they are charged N$32 000 per month as part of the maximum demand fees by NORED even when they don’t make use of the service.
“Even if we are not operating, NORED still chargers us for power bills,” he said, adding that the operation of the Outapi abattoir is even higher than Eenhana’s.
He appealed to the ministry to speak to NORED to waiver the maximum charge.
Shikongo also pointed out that NNA is faced with many challenges as the Eenhana abattoir only operated one month in September last year and this year it only worked from July to October.
Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Calle Schlettwein, agreed with the NNA that the power charges are unnecessarily high and stated that the costs charged by NORED are unacceptable.
“If the power cost continues that way, the other option is for the abattoirs to start generating their own electricity by using solar power,” he said.
He indicated that the ministry is busy developing livestock infrastructure to cater to the needs of farmers.
Schlettwein admitted that drought has indeed affected the production of the abattoirs in the northern and southern areas of the country and farmers are currently restocking their livestock.
He assured the members of the NNA that the technical committee for the ministry will deal with the issue and ensure that matters are addressed.
Last year, the Ohangwena Region recorded a total number of about 100 000 livestock, compared to the previous year in which the region recorded over 200 000 livestock – a decline attributed to drought.