THE Eloolo Abattoir at Oshakati has been closed and workers sent home.
The premises is currently deserted, leaving only security guards to watch over the property around the clock.
When Informante visited the place on Monday, only the veterinary office was manned.
However, Sikunawa Negumbo, is still optimistic that this is not the end of the road for the abattoir.
He is one of the directors of the KIAT Investment Holdings, the company that runs the abattoir with Chinese partners.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said in a telephone interview.
He said that KIAT has been running the Eloolo Abattoir since 2016 and has been experiencing serious financial difficulties.
He further noted that the company knocked on the doors of Agribank and the Development Bank of Namibia, but failed to secure the N$60 million that was needed.
KIAT eventually linking up with a Chinese company, the Ningbo Agriculture Investment Group, that promised a phased investment of N$200 million.
But the promise did not materialise.
“They keep making promises, but nothing concrete happens,” said Negumbo, adding that KIAT is now negotiating with other investors, a delicate process that might require KIAT to dump Ningbo.
Negumbo, who lamented the negative effects of the temporary closure to the local livestock farmers, also noted that the more than 40 abattoir workers were not retrenched as such, but were merely sent home because “we cannot keep them while there is nothing going on at the abattoir.”
According to him, the retrenchment letters given to workers were the result of miscommunication.
“There is no board resolution authorising such retrenchment. Everyone will return to work as soon as funding is secured and the abattoir restarts its operations,” he said.
Oshana Governor Elia Irimari is also joining the fray and has already scheduled an urgent meeting with KIAT and their Chinese partners next week Thursday.