Sunday, February 5, 2023

Govt appeals school uniform import ban judgement

The Government has indicated that it is appealing a High Court ruling which Lobatse Judge Justice Reuben Lekorwe had directed that pending the determination of the review applications by PEP and Ackermans the director of international trade should issue permits to the two retailers. 

The importation was to be for the period between December 2022 and January 2023 only.

In a statement, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in its efforts to deliver on its mandate of creating wealth and employment for Batswana by attracting investors (both domestic and foreign) to establish industries in Botswana, it issued the Statutory Instrument No. 76 of 2021 under the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act that was published on the 24th August 2021.

“This Statutory Instrument (SI) imposed restrictions on the importation of tunics, dresses, pinafores, shirts, skirts, pants, slacks, blouses, t-shirts, ties, scarf, hats, jerseys, and tracksuits for public or private pre-school, primary and secondary schools,” reads the statement in part.

It states that on December 20th, 2022 PEP Botswana Holdings Limited (Pty) Ltd and Ackermans Botswana (Pty) Ltd brought an urgent court application seeking an order that they should be allowed to import uniforms on the same terms and conditions as those contained in their expired permits.

“The Court decided in favour of the two companies by directing that they be issued with permits for the importation of school uniforms for the period between December 2022 and January 2023 only,” adds the statement.

It says subsequent to the Court’s decision, Government successfully launched an urgent application to suspend the court order, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

“Effectively, this means that pending the hearing of the appeal, local manufacturers are at liberty to supply school uniforms. Currently, there are 238 companies (from small-scale to large-scale) operating in the country which produce school uniforms and they have already started supplying retail stores,” the statement says.

Furthermore, the Ministry says, collaborations are ongoing with a view to ensuring consistency in the supply of school uniforms across the country.

“To that end, the Ministry has also engaged with associations representing manufacturers and retailers. Since 24th August 2021, the Ministry has been engaging with retailers and manufacturers through written communication and also on one-on-one meetings focused on helping them acclimatise to, and deliver on, the expectations of Statutory Instrument No. 76 under, under the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act [CAP. 43:08],” the statement says.

It further states that; “It is imperative that as a country we must increase domestic consumption and confidence in locally produced products and eventually produce excess for the export markets.”

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