Sunday, November 27, 2022

BEMA holds inaugural exporters and manufacturers’ Expo

Local manufactures have been encouraged to up their game and be competitive as government cannot close the local market to foreign players.

Addressing local manufacturers and exporters at a Botswana Exporters and Manufactures Association (BEMA) expo, the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Keletso Rakhudu, said government is not bound to procurer locally produced goods when they are not competitive enough.

“Locally produced goods we use but we cannot throw away quality products in favor of local products,” said Rakhudu. He said inasmuch as government is on serious drive to diversify the economy from diamonds, they cannot compromise on quality.

Rakhudu said in as much as government wants to protect local manufactures there is a limit to what can be done as the nation needs to do business with other countries.
“We cannot completely close others from our market when we want to get into their market,” said Rakhudu.

“We need to be innovative to be able to produce goods and services which are competitive in terms of quality, price and availability of delivery period,” he said.

He said currently Botswana is on a drive to have local business people establish in other countries.

“We have realized we cannot contain our local manufactures; we have to promote outward investment,” said Rakhudu. He said there is a lot of potential offshore and it boosts the country’s foreign currency base.

In addition, he said manufactures should price their products normally and desist from overcharging government when they supply their products.

“You triple your prices and as such you fall on your competitor,” said Rakhudu.

The expo, which is a first of its kind, had 35 local exhibitors and is expected to be an annual event. The expo was mainly targeting the country’s largest consumers, government and the parastatals.

He said the country is faced with a huge high import bill which is disproportionately big; P13 billion of the P20 billion going to heavy capital goods like mining equipment and civil construction equipment.

“We should work together to reduce the import bill because a high import bill is a clear sign the country cannot fend for itself,” said Rakhudu.

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