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Botswana lawmakers divided over $90 000 Zim debt

27 May 2016, 16:03

Gaborone – Lawmakers in Botswana are reportedly divided over whether to collect a $90 000 debt, by northern neighbours Zimbabwe, that was incurred at least 5 years ago, reports said on Friday.

According to New Zimbabwe, the two countries signed a deal in July 2011 to export live cattle from Botswana for slaughter in Zimbabwe.

The deal came after Zimbabwe purchased live cattle from Botswana following a Foot and Mouth outbreak in the southern African country. 

At the time, Zimbabwe promised to honour the contract within 45 days. However, due to economic hardships, it failed to pay its dues.  

Appearing before the ongoing Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) this week Botswana’s agriculture ministry permanent secretary, Boipelelo Khumomatlhare, said legal advice on the way forward would be sought from the Attorney General.

“In 2015 we wrote a letter to the Minister of Agriculture in Zimbabwe and he responded by saying they were willing to pay, but the problem was that they did not have money.

“We then communicated with the Zimbabwean ambassador who also responded by saying the country was in a dire situation and they would not be able to pay the debt even if they were willing,” Khumomatlhare was quoted as saying.

A report by The Mmegi said that Botswana’s government was considering writing off the debt. However, some lawmakers were resisting the move.

PAC member Ignatius Moswaane was adamant that Zimbabwe must pay the debt.

He claimed that this would lead to others not to pay their debts.

“We should stop acting like a rich nation and stop making unnecessary donations. We should try to get what is owed to us because if not others who owe will also want their debts to be cancelled. Just imagine, how many millions would then be lost,” Moswaane was quoted saying.

- News 24


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