The Alliance for Progressives says while it welcomes the establishment of the Meat Industry Regulatory Authority (MIRA), it is concerned that it comes six years later after it was first suggested.

The AP has revealed that it will through its Vice President and Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi guide how to structure the Bill that establishes the meat regulator.

This comes after Cabinet last week formally approved the establishment of MIRA, the central tool for the industry’s liberalisation.

Early this year the then Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Karabo Gare revealed that the Botswana Meat Commission (Transition) Act 2019 is expected to commence during the first quarter of the financial year 2022/2023.

The Transition Bill, he said, paves way for three core activities being: corporatisation of BMC, establishment of a meat industry regulatory authority; and liberalisation of the meat export market.

Gare explained that following the signing of the Bill into law, top on the agenda of the new CEO will be to corporatise BMC. AP Spokesperson, Mmaotho Segotso said the establishment of the meat regulator will create opportunities for citizens to diversify within the beef sector and create a locomotive for wealth creation, diversification of the economy, employment creation and poverty reduction.

In this way, she said no one player will or can hold the whole country to ransom. The AP mouthpiece added that this also means that CEOs are not only appointed by Government, and as “we have seen in recent times, this has been a major contributing factor in the unending upheaval at the BMC.

“There is no doubt that the sustained poor performance of the BMC calls for a radical shift in its operations and strategy. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) ’s answer, which we have vehemently opposed has been wholesale privatisation of the BMC."

AP's solution on the other hand, is a managed competition system through the establishment of a Meat Regulator body. Segotso added that time and again, the leadership of the Alliance for Progressives has called for the establishment of the Meat Regulator, in Parliament and in their policy addresses, a plea which fell on deaf ears and has always been rebuffed by BDP legislators and President, Mokgweetsi Masisi himself.

She noted that the sudden U-turn and warming up to the idea of introducing the Meat Regulator is nothing but a continuation of the BDP’s culture of rejecting good policies that come from the opposition, only to, later on, implement them as their brainchild.

According to the AP Spokesperson, this disturbing display of plagiarism by the supposed ruling party shows the level of bankruptcy of ideas at the BDP. The AP believes that it is the ordinary Motswana that suffers the consequences of ill-timed interventions and unnecessary delays in implementations.

Segotso pointed out that since these are stolen ideas, the BDP is also at loss on how to effectively execute them.

“As the AP, we are proud of our solid policy framework that seeks to deliver a new Botswana. We will continue to offer policy alternatives in the hope that even if they are half implemented there will be some level of improvement on the lives of Batswana compared to the hopeless situation of a government bereft of ideas," she said.

If implemented well, the Meat Regulator could unlock the potential in the beef industry and position the BMC as a meats multi-national company, operating not only in Botswana but in other parts of the world.

This is, and has always been the offer of the new Botswana, an economy that is nurtured and supported through the establishment of multi-national companies, as other countries like Singapore did, Segotso said.