According to the minister, the contract between NARCO and Overland Company, which led to the formation of OVENCO Company, needs to be rescinded before the end of the year.
He also gave NARCO a one-month ultimatum to come up with a new deal that will clear up the legal problems in the current pact.
Mpina made the directives yesterday when speaking soon after touring the ranch of about 41,000 hectares, of which 21,000 hectares are managed by the investing Overland company which is now in conflict with NARCO.
After hearing out both parties, the minister ruled that the company does not have the ability to fulfil the target of developing the entire area, and has been developing its half without a proper legal mandate to do so.
He told NARCO to make sure the reworked contract with the same investor is legally binding, and includes a section that allows NARCO to have a representative on the ranch.
Minister Mpina also directed that the investor company should not be disturbed because it has shown real interest to develop the area by bringing in Boran cattle and setting up some key infrastructure.
Commenting on the remaining 20, 000 hectares of ranch land that has been given to other, smaller-scale investors, he urged them to pay all government tax arrears before next Monday (January 1).
“It is important for all investors, at whatever level, to settle all tax matters as soon as possible,” he said.
Each small-scale investor is required to pay 1,000/- per hectare in tax. According to Mpina: “This is a small amount, but there are some investors who don’t pay on time. The government won’t hesitate to remove them from the area if they don’t pay the legal taxes.”
He also directed NARCO to ensure that all the ranch investors adhere to their plans for developing the property, including the putting up of key infrastructure.
Handeni district commissioner Godwin Gondwe said the district authorities will continue to protect livestock resources through available by-laws set by the council.
Overland company director Faisal Edha said he was optimistic that the proposed new contract will be a win-win situation for both sides - investor and government.