Fear has gripped the local furniture manufacturers as the low cost Chinese furniture is increasingly flooding the market.
The manufactures are saying the low cost furniture from China has crippled their industry as they cannot grow.
“We foresee uneasy times lying ahead, if government does not intervene urgently,” said Amjad Mohideen, chairperson of Furniture Manufactures Botswana.
He said the industry has been hurt by glut of Chinese cheap furniture and manufactures are struggling to sell furniture as no one wants to buy locally made furniture because cheap Chinese furniture is available.
“The cutthroat business climate, more and more furniture companies are taking advantage of cheaper furniture to survive, leaving local manufactures with no market for their furniture,” Mohideen said. “Despite their low quality the cheap price is the main reason why Batswana and furniture companies prefer Chinese furniture.”
If this prevailing situation continues manufactures will be forced to lay off a considerable number of employees of which the employment generation of this industry is considerable in the country.
Mohideen said there is a great improvement in the quality of locally produced furniture; as such there is no need to import. Shops selling their poor quality furniture at very low prices have mushroomed all over the country out numbering the local furniture shops.
He said the government should protect local industry so that they can be able to grow.
“Government should make sure that they give the local industry a chance to grow and become globally competitive,” said Mohideen.
“The government should put in place import and export regulations on furniture to protect our industry, and that’s the only way we can know if the government wants us to continue manufacturing or if we should stop,” he said.
The furniture industry has an investment of over 30 million in the economy and the annual turnover is P450 million, approximately. Furniture manufacturing remains one of the major industries in the country that has a number of micro, small and medium sized enterprises.