21 March 2018
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Government owes GMB US$81 million

13/03/2018 00:00:00
by Business Reporter
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THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is owed $81 million by government, Parliament heard this Monday.

The state-owned grain institution was being quizzed by legislators on why it was lagging behind in paying its pension, life assurance and medical aid obligations.

Deputy general manager finance Clemence Guta said the company would cover much of its arrears if government would pay its dues to the grain bank.

“What has been happening with these statutory obligations is that we have not been really getting any payments in storage and handling fees. Therefore, liquidating all these debts all at once has been a challenge,” said Guta.

“What we have done is we are now meeting the current obligations to say if we deduct medical aid we are paying in that particular month. Then we have payment plans for the outstanding debts from prior years.

“As we stand now, treasury is owing about $81 million in terms of storage and handling fees and if we are to get that then we then be able to liquidate all these.”

Legislators suggested that the company negotiates with government so that treasury assumes payment of some of its obligations from the debt owed by the State.

In response, Guta said, “We have engaged treasury and as far as we are concerned our payee obligations are taken care of.

“They (treasury) have so far also helped us in terms of paying what we are owing to sister parastatals in terms of settling their tax obligations.”

The company has also sought to reduce its wage bill by about 50 percent through making redundant nearly 800 workers in line with the plummeted agricultural production this season.


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