Zambeef has pulled out its operations in Namwala citing exorbitant fees charged by ZEMA.

In a letter addressed to Namwala UPND member of parliament Moono Lubezhi, and signed by its General Manager Murray Moore, the company complained that the cost of doing business had gone high.

“The most pertinent reasons behind the decision to close the facility extend beyond the fees structure. Fee structure- not all the fees and levies are paid by Zambeef Products PLC (direct costs). Many of them are actually incurred by the supplier (indirect costs) but the end result is the same; an increase in the cost of doing business. Condemn %- Namwala abattoir currently condemns significantly more offal products than any other Zambeef abattoir nationwide. This is surprising because Namwala animal husbandry is well ahead of any other cattle area in Zambia. The offal component is an important contributor to an abattoir’s profitability,” read the letter.

According to Zambeef, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) collected K118,166 per annum.

“ZEMA annual fees include: (a) Air emissions permit K8,333; (b) Air emission monitoring K67, 200; (c) Effluent emissions permit K8,333; (d) Effluent monitoring K31,800; (e) Running of a dump site K2,000; and (f) Waste transport permit K500. Are these fees reasonable and are they being applied consistently across the district? Honourable, it is in our mutual interest to resolve this crisis and prevent the closure of this important facility. Zambeef Products PLC would like to see a halving of all fees and levies associated with running this facility. We look forward to your input and feedback,” read the letter.

And in an interview with News Diggers! Lubezhi expressed disappointment over the matter.

“I am very disappointed that because of the charges that ZEMA is charging these abattoirs, Zambeef has pulled out of Namwala and now I am so worried that the employment, the economy in Namwala will go down. I am very disappointed with this PF government. Zambeef was running an abattoir in Namwala and this abattoirs was very vital economically to the people of Namwala, and they have closed it because they are saying the government is charging them exorbitant fees K118, 000 which is a lot,” Lubezhi said.

She advised ZEMA to go back to the drawing board and revise the fees in order to allow the company to continue operating.

“I tried to intervene but it is like it was falling on deaf ears. My appeal is that I think we still need to go back to the drawing board especially with ZEMA so that they go back on their fees for Zambeef to continue operating in Namwala. They were running a butchery and an abattoir, it was really a source of income for the people of Namwala, as you know Namwala district is one of the richest districts concerning livestock. I am really saddened as a law maker. This PF government really does not mean well for the people for the people of Zambia and especially the vulnerable. Otherwise Zambeef has really left a big gap in Namwala economically. Zambeef had written to me that they were pulling out because of these fees,” said Lubezhi.