Saturday, December 3, 2022

BITC attributes challenges to bureaucratic rules

Just a year in existence, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre is saddled with challenging problems emanating mainly from government bureaucratic policies and laws.

A merger from Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority and International Financial Services Centre, BITC’s vision, mission and strategic business focus continue to haunt the new institution attributed largely to the prevailing rules and regulations.

“As an investor attraction centre empowering both the local and foreign investors, BITC is faced with challenge, including bureaucratic and red tape policies and laws,” noted BITC Director of Research and Strategy, Moemedi Mokgosi.

He cited the current VISA, residents and work permits requirements, which are a headache to foreign investors and traders wishing to do business in the country as both Trade and Industry and Labour and Home Affairs ministries drag their feet hindered by the existing current laws and policies.

Travelling across the world on a benchmark mission, BITC management identified the former war-torn Rwanda as one of the good partners to conduct and tap business.

While it would take Rwanda government a day to finalise requirements to set businesses, Mokgosi decried the opposite, long processes for foreign investors and traders which often go for months in Botswana.

“We are negotiating with the government to relax some of these policies and laws,” Mokgosi said as he briefed Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

BITC, as a new agency eager to be recognized globally as a leading investment and trade promotion in Africa, all is not lost for BITC as it even targets the fastest growing economies of the East, including China.

“We are fortunate enough to be blessed with adequate raw materials, with places like Maun amongst others, expected to lead in the manufacturing sectors should our efforts be exerted without impediments to the right investor nations,” Mokgosi further noted.

He said most emerging countries were shifting their attention to the East and in particular one of the world superpowers and rapid growing economy – China.

The interaction between local and international investors was essential for Botswana’s dream to become a reality, with another Global Expo expected in November.

Established as a new generation investment and export promotion agency, BITC strives to Brand Botswana by encouraging and globalizing local products to the outside world.

The agency intends to meet the challenges created by the new competitive environment and seize opportunities which arise.

Falling short of blaming Botswana government of lack of political will, Mokgosi piled kudus on the republic of Rwanda, which he said had the interest of its nation at heart.

“I do not know whether to say it is lack of political will by our politicians but in Rwanda their laws are investor friendly and confidence reassuring with the country set to succeed,” he responded to a question from Kgosi Maruje Masunga of North East.

Masunga doubted the success of BITC considering the current status quo surrounding policies and laws.

Besides setting themselves differently from the rest, developing a new corporate Brand identity, BITC aims to maintain stronger alignment to national economic development policies and needs of business.

The agency is also set to build a one stop shop to avert confusion as investors are moved from one department to another for simple business enquiries.


Read this week's paper