By Majaha Nkonyane | 2018-09-12
Throngs of private tractor owners who attended a stakeholder engagement workshop with the National Maize Corporation (NMC) last week, in preparation of the new farming season, have expressed excitement on the payment schedule revealed NMC.
They further heaped praises on the organisation for introducing contracts for the deserving tractor owners.
NMC CEO Sabelo Msibi assured the tractor owners that his organisation will make payments to the latter for all man-hours serviced in no more than 30 working days from the date of invoicing.
“One of the strategies we employed in recent years is the timeous processing and issuance of payments to all our suppliers and service providers. NMC, therefore, would like to assure private tractor owners who will be successfully vetted and incorporated in this year’s tractor hire programme that they will be duly paid within agreed time, in line with our prompt payment strategy,” Msibi said.
Msibi also said NMC fully understood that the private tractor owners were in business, hence any delays in processing their payments could impact their cash flows, and subsequently their efficiency.
“While we regard you as partners in this national project, we are cognisant of the fact that through engaging you, we will be making business as well as availing employment opportunities to emaSwati through this initiative,” he said.
In addition Msibi said the tractor owners would be expected to provide a professional service that would be beyond reproach, so to ensure the success of the new farming season. Although he did non-say much on this year’s rate that will be paid to private tractor owners for each hour serviced, Msibi gave them assurance that the rate will not be lesser than that paid out by government last year. Last year’s rate was E380 per hour.
NMC tractor hire service is one of the two programmes that were recently transferred from central government to the parastatal, the other being the farmer input subsidy programme. NMC hit the ground running through assessing the state of government tractors, as well as opening a platform for re-engagement with both seasoned and new tractor owners.
Of the 60 000 hours targeted this year, Msibi urged private tractor owners to increase their share, for mutual benefits.
If they increased their share, he said, tractor owners stood to increase their returns by up to a fourfold, while NMC stood to ensure that all farmers who request the service are attended to on time and efficiently.
Of the 47 575 hours processed last year, only 11 555 hours were serviced by the private tractor owners and the rest by the government tractors.
Taking the private tractor owners through the registration process, NMC Chief Operations Officer Cyprian Lukhele revealed that those who are assessed and found to be deserving will be allocated hours accordingly, and awarded contracts.
One Manzini Region-based tractor owner, who identified himself as Magagula, said the introduction of contracts was a positive step in the right direction, as these bound both parties to adhere to agreed terms of service.
“We are really excited over the direction that our engagement will be taking going forward. As part of the stakeholder community in this project, our confidence in it has been boosted following this dialogue,” he said.
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