Government’s recent decision to ban the importation of school uniform has come handy for local businesses this year.
Local tailors have over the years been complaining about local currency being thrown out to foreign countries.
Local tailor in Gaborone, Keamogetse Madikwe stated that since the ban, her business has improved as more clients have started to appreciate her craft.
She said over the years it was difficult to generate business from English medium schools, saying that has now changed.
“I am happy because since the reopening of schools this year my business has gained a bit of revenue compared to previous years, so I am hopeful that more parents and schools will realise the potential we have as local tailors”
“The only challenge right now is that material takes a bit of time to arrive in Botswana because I often source from China,” said Madikwe.
Madikwe also pleaded with government to ensure that the market is forever protected for local tailors saying that the ban could soon open doors for foreigners to set up businesses in the country.
“I appreciate what government has done for us but there is need to improve the local market because another thing is that for the longest time it has been dominated by foreigners,” added Madikwe.
For her part, another local designer Masego Gabanakgang said the recent development is a positive intent to encourage more locals to venture into the market.
“I am delighted because business has been good and I managed to hire two more people to assist me as you know that schools are opening in phases and some schools have already lay bye winter clothing so clearly I need more hands on deck”
“I wish government can engage English medium schools to ensure that a large bulk of their school uniform is spread across locals because there are rumours that they want to set up their own manufacturing business,” added Gabanakgang.
She also pleaded with government to ensure that they are consulted as many times as possible as there are concerns that they long shared with government.
“There are a lot of challenges that need government intervention because some businesses have closed shop, not because of Covid-19 but things that could have long been addressed,” said Gabanakgang.
Another local tailor, Atlholang Keabetswe said although her business has improved this year, it still remains difficult for English medium schools to support her business.
“We are still going through a difficult phase but we need support from English medium schools because government has taken a decision to favour us”
“If I could have a business from English medium schools then who knows I could employ more people because more work means more workforce,” stated Gabanakgang.
In 2020, government took an initiative to promote local citizens through reserving businesses and certain industries for its citizens. Under the Trade Act the following businesses will be reserved for Botswana citizens only.
An industrial license to operate any of the following manufacturing enterprises shall be reserved for citizens in terms of section 5 (5) (a) of the Act —Bread and Confectionery, -Ice making, -Meat processing, -Peanut butter, -Purification and bottling of water, -Traditional sour milk and-Sorghum and others.