Botswana government calls for promotion of local products
Mmegi.bw - Jul 11th, 11:33
The Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Keletso Rakhudu has said Botswana must have a twin pronged strategy in promoting itself.
Speaking during a manufacturers and exporters exhibition, Rakhudu said Botswana must promote itself as a brand to the world and promote the use of locally produced goods and services in the country."As the country aligns itself with the implementation of the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), there is a need to increase awareness of the various goods and services manufactured locally as well as facilitate citizen-owned companies on local market access," he said at the event organised by the Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA).
He said that among the main macroeconomic factors that contribute to the growth of SMMEs is government expenditure. In the short run, government procurement should assist the development of SMMEs that have registered for EDD."There is a need for mindset change on the part of SMMEs, to dismiss the perception that government is obliged to procure local products.
“We need to be innovative to be able to produce goods and services which are competitive by international standards," he said. "Our products must be competitive in terms of quality, price and availability or delivery period," he added.
The minister said that this approach ensures that there is fair competition and brings out the inherent innovation expected to be drawn from the market. "We are on a quest to make competition fair through our EDD initiative, where various businesses are afforded preferential margins to develop their competencies through government procurement procedures," he said. With fair competition, innovative business activity will be facilitated to create diversified industrial base.
Among other things Rakhudu said that institutions such as the Competition Authority (CA) under his ministry will continue to facilitate the removal of barriers to entry, growth and development for firms doing business in Botswana.
He explained that as the economy diversifies, the private sector needs to take a leading role through viable companies that can create employment opportunities with support from government."We encourage setting up of manufacturing entities by way of funding through CEDA, BDC, NDB and LEA as we recognise the need to capture foreign markets and in the process the necessary foreign currency whilst at the same time creating wealth for the owners or shareholders of these entities and employment for others," he explained.
By encouraging setting up of such entities, he said they are furthering government policy on Citizen Economic Empowerment and supporting the EDD initiative while broadening the tax revenue base for the state. Rakhudu has declared his ministry's willingness to make its offices the home of the private sector.He said the gap between the private sector and the government is continuously narrowing. He said that the role of the private sector is becoming increasingly important in terms of partnering with the government on policy formulation and international trade.From Mmegi Online
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