The struggling Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) is set to release K6 billion, in a paradoxical move, to go towards ending salary woes at its subsidiary AHL Group.
This is coming few months after the government allowed the sole grain trader to borrow K22 billion from commercial banks in order to buy farm produce from farmers.
Admarc Board Chairperson Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi said Admarc would give AHL Group K6 billion, out of the K12 billion it has corrected from the government.
He said the grain trader did not borrow any monies from banks.
Kusamba Dzonzi said the government owed Admarc K23 billion and that the State-funded institution asked the government to pay back the dues.
“Government has paid K12 billion for the time being, but in form of a promissory note, and this is why banks were involved to redeem the promissory note before AHL gets its K6 billion it needs to be afloat,” Dzonzi said.
He added that the development follows AHL Group’s board and management resolution to seek help from Admarc two weeks ago.
Dzonzi further said delays to give AHL employees their dues arose because everything was brought to the attention of Admarc during the festivities period, which made it difficult for banks to work at full throttle.
“We have been assured by the bank we are dealing with that AHL will have its monies by Tuesday (tomorrow). Admarc Board of Directors is not particularly amused that it was involved at the eleventh hour because we would have found the solution to problems affecting our baby AHL by September last year had their issues been prioritised.
“May I therefore plead with the staff of AHL to bear with the situation as Admarc was directly brought in after the Vice President [Saulos Chilima] and Minister of Finance ordered Admarc Board of Directors to find a lasting solution to AHL’s financial nightmare by January 31 2021, just two weeks ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, AHL Group workers have planned to stage a vigil at the company’s offices in Lilongwe as the company opens from the festive holidays today.
A leaked letter to executive management, copied to the Labour Commissioner, shows that the workers are demanding their full pay before they resume duties.
They are further demanding 30 percent compensation from AHL for holding their salaries which, they claim, resulted in unplanned for borrowing.
In a separate interview, a representative of AHL Group workers Henry Gwazayani said they had been getting reports of the bailout for the past three months but had not received their pay.
“Management has arranged for a meeting on Tuesday but, still more, we will start a vigil on Monday. We shall not attend the Tuesday meeting unless whoever will address that meeting finds us where we shall be gathering. We haven’t been paid since September. Our last payment was for August 2020, which we got on September 2 2020,” Gwazayani said.