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Government, Admarc tussle over turnaround move

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Rhino Chiphiko

There are protracted disagreements between the government and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) on what should happen to turn around the fortunes of the State produce trader.

Government on Tuesday, through Principal Secretary for Public Sector Investment Projects in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Patrick Zimpita, said the government would not be pumping money into the corporation, asking authorities to come up with income generating strategies.

But Admarc General Manager Rhino Chiphiko has challenged the government to be decisive on Admarc, saying it wants to get from Admarc what it did not invest.

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Chiphiko decried that, for decades, there has not been any investment in Admarc, saying working capital has become one of their biggest challenges.

“The major problem is that we haven’t had investments in Admarc. Government should be serious. The shareholder should put money in Admarc because what you put in Admarc is what you get; so, they should not expect too much from Admarc where there are no investments,” he said.

Commenting on government’s stance of not providing bailouts to struggling State owned enterprises, Chiphiko said as a main shareholder government should decide what to do with the institution.

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He disclosed that they still owe banks in billions and that they are currently looking for money to start buying produce from farmers.

“They should now realise that Admarc is not making money, it is not making any profit and now they should decide what to do with Admarc…we were trying to borrow from commercial banks, the status hasn’t changed for the better,” he said.

But Zimpita said while they sympathize with Admarc and looking at ways of helping them, the corporation should remain steadfast on recapitalisation.

“As a shareholder, what we are saying is we can’t just be putting money in institutions that are not able to generate their own income. For Admarc, we are looking at ways of how to help them; they have a huge debt and the minister just recently had a long discussion with Admarc,” Zimpita said.

As of January 2022, Admarc owed commercial banks up to K64 billion and posted a loss of about K14 billion in the 2021-22 financial year.

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