VAT has once again been labeled a hindrance to progress, especially to small aspiring entrepreneurs. Speaking in an interview with The Sunday Standard, the manager of the newly established Huguenot Fine Chocolates, situated at Molapo Crossing, Mokashane Nxumalo, pleaded with the government to exempt small entrepreneurs from VAT and customs duties.
She argued that VAT and customs duties charges contributed to the collapse of both the old and aspiring new small businesses, adding that the government should intervene before it was too late.
She lamented that small entrepreneurs abandoned business ventures mainly because they were subjected to hefty sums of money at the border posts.
“Unless the government exempts small businesses from VAT and customs duties charges, there would not be any progress,” she said. “A serious government with a motivational drive on self- reliance must change the status quo.”
Born in Mochudi and heading a 100 percent Batswana-owned business, Nxumalo’s business specializes in chocolates with most of the ingredients coming from as far as Belgium.
A specialist on breads and desserts, the US trained Nxumalo came to Botswana in 1996.
To hone her skills further and to familiarize herself with Botswana business, Nxumalo went to South Africa for further training.
After completing her course, Nxumalo and her three relatives opted for a chocolate making business instead of the saturated bakery and confectionery.
Thus on November 5, 2006, Huguenot Fine Chocolates opened its doors to customers at Molapo crossing for the first time.
Operating with only three employees, Nxumalo said her business produces close to 3000 chocolates a day and her customers are mainly from the passing traffic.
She has, however, started advertising on radio and flyers are now in car parks around the city. Nxumalo has also visited lodges and corporate businesses to interest them in her business. The response, she said, had been positive.
She admitted that starting the business was not easy but she sees a bright future ahead.
“We would like to open a branch up North in the future and eventually outside the country, in the SADCC region,” she said, “But that is only possible if government comes to our aid.”