Wednesday, May 18, 2022

IFSC asks aviation industry to invest in Botswana

IFSC has pledged its readiness to provide world class convenience for aviation businesses offering to invest in the country, with a view to ultimately making Botswana the hub of the industry activity in the region.

The IFSC offers a platform of favourable incentives for airliners, aviation leasing and business service providers that could motivate aviation and allied businesses to establish in Botswana.

Allan Boshwaen, the IFSC CEO said air travel was flourishing across Africa, where major international carriers were entering African markets and improving economies were helping the industry emerge from the global downturn.

Passenger travel in Africa has grown by 13 percent increase.

“It is in that context that we have found it expedient to seize on the rare opportunity to address this high profile international aviation conference to highlight the availability of opportunities and incentives for investing in Botswana,” Boshwaen told Sunday Standard.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the 16th Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference before the end of the week, at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).

Boshwaen posited that before the introduction of an independent regulator in the name of the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) as per requirements of the International Civil Aviation, it was such a hassle going into other activities beyond aviation leasing.

In Botswana, aviation companies stand to qualify for much lower taxes on their transactions and free exchange controls, if they get licensed by IFSC.

In addition, being IFSC licensed also guarantees one the liberty to send out and receive company’s share capital in any currency, and not restricted to Pula.

The Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) also believes that Botswana has potential as the ideal centre in the SADC to be a Regional Transport Hub.

Permanent Secretary of MWT, Mabua Mabua, has expressed the view that aviation was a catalyst for national development, and had the ability to boost tourism, trade and commerce.

For that reason, the idea of re-positioning the try to transform the transport and logistics industry into a major growth sector to stimulate economic diversification fell well within the scope of attracting big and serious business.

Mabua said the ongoing development of a multi-modal Air Cargo Hub and envisaged construction of a robust and world class road and rail network intended to be linked to the air cargo hub, was a meant to create a further enabling environment for investment.

“Personally and on behalf government I can proudly say we are highly privileged to have the aviation conference held here, especially that it is usually held in the capitals of counties like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa where there are big airliners.”

Besides, the occasion allowed for interaction with critical stakeholders like plane manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus.

However, in spite of all the positive indicators and measures by the authorities to induce aviation business, there is still a concern that government is taking time to liberalise the skies.

Maria Machailo-Ellis, Executive Director of Botswana Chamber of Commerce and Industry Manpower (BOCCIM), queried, “As I speak it is not possible for me to travel to Ghanzi or even to Kasane any time I need to do business there, despite the high number of operators who are currently not holding licenses to transport people.”

The main objective of the conference was to explore ways in which African airlines and aviation services can develop their potential to cope with growing market demands, by creating the right human capital and adopting the suited technology for optimum cost saving.

It was agreed, that to address the stated challenges political will and leadership was required to facilitate the industry’s growth.

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