A report released by the Court of Accounts has negatively portrayed the Directorate General of Meat and Milk Institution (ESK) failing Turkish citizens as meat, which is not consumed in large quantities, cannot be found in grocery stores.
The report comes after an investigation on how ESK conducted its business in 2017 and pointed out several agreements that the latter signed. It pointedly stated that under the “current market” conditions, its really unheard of that consumers cannot find meat. ESK, whose agreements with both BİM and A101 (a low-priced supermarkets chain in Turkey) were included in the report and regarded as “cheap.”
According to the 2017 report of Count of Accounts, ESK purchased 22.822 bovines and 8051 ovines, in total 31.873 livestock but this figure could not meet the consumers’ demands.
As a result of the unfortunate development, imports had to be made from foreign countries, causing a high cost of 3.1 billion Turkish Lira (USD 585 000). This amount was paid for by taxpayers. A total of 25.037 tons of meat were sold those markets.
Failure to meet demand
The Court of Accounts report points out that meat cannot be found in the supermarkets that closely work with ESK as the current selling price is far lower than the one recommended by the market.
During inspections, the report also noted that along with bologna, meat in small pieces (kuşbaşı in Turkish) and minced meat (Kıyma in Turkish), these cannot be found in the grocers associated with ESK. “We also detected that ESK cannot meet the demand of meat and associated meat products,” added in the report.
The critical report continued to state that underlining the gradually increasing gap between market and ESK prices, the protection of consumers should be strongly considered with utmost care and attention paid on the what consumer demand in the market.
Now focusing on those employed by ESK, the report said: “Employee personnel are employed in the ESK although the personnel should be institution’s own personnel. Underlining the employee personnel, the report also warned that this situation can be a factor that deteriorates the labour peace in the institution. Employee personnel implementation in the offices ‘should be abolished’ and ‘civil servants and contracted personnel’ should be reinstated while conducting fundamental duties of the ESK.”
Lawsuit valued millions in Erzurum
The wide-ranging report also focused on the eastern region of Erzurum where it found the local Meat Combine Building is still not completed since 2012.
“The building is still not completed five years later. It was supposed to be completed by 2012. Erzurum Metropolitan Municipality should request 100 thousand TL from the contractor company for each year. The municipality should follow up on the case, which can cause millions of TL to contracted company.”
Renting building, burning cash
ESK was also fingered for financial loss as it continues to render its services from rented buildings, thus exposing it to financial losses.
In 2005, it was decided for ESK should continue its activities by being removed from the privatisation program. But the institution, which its activities gradually tend to increase, is continuing to pay a high amount of rent. In order to work under a single building and to have more sterile conditions, the mentioned service building should be completed urgently and all necessary things should be done for it,” stated the report.
Meat and Fish Institution was founded as a State Economic Enterprise (SEE) with a capital of 40 million TL under the directorship of Ministry of Trade in October 1952 upon the Coordination Board Decision numbered K/871 which was approved by the in August 1952 dated and 3/15597 numbered Decree of the Cabinet pursuant to the clause 6 of the National Protection Law numbered 3780.
Foundation of the Meat and Fish Institution coincides with a period when the private sector, capital accumulation and industry and trade were underdeveloped and qualified personnel was scarce.
The young Republic of Turkey enabled the development of industry and the formation of capital accumulation by leading the private sector by establishing SEEs in order to increase employment and improve the economy. In line with these purposes, organisations such as Meat and Fish Institution, Milk Industry Institution and Feed Industry were founded in the agricultural sector to contribute to the development of agriculture and livestock breeding.