Entrepreneurs in the informal sector are having it really rough to get the deserved recognition, the spokesperson of Botswana Informal Sector Association (BOISA), Sabata Masalila has said.
In a recent interview, Masalila said that the informal sector in Botswana is faced with a lake of challenges which she attributed to “lack of recognition” of the sector as an equal player in the domestic economy.
Amongst the challenges faced by the sector players, include lack of space to sell their products.
“There is no sustainable and long term space for use by informal traders which exposes us to constant clashes with local councils who sometimes confiscate our goods,” said Masalila. Masalila said they need market place near bus/taxi ranks as most of their customers use public transport.
During the same interview, Masalila stated that informal traders are excluded in the local ministry level trade committee and therefore their interests are not represented. She further highlighted that while they are determined to support local small farmers, especially producers of fruits and vegetables, these tend to be more expensive than imported ones.
“The Botswana farmers sell by bags while the South African farmers sell bales,” she said.
The total number of informal sector businesses in Botswana as at March 2015 was estimated at 116, 571. At the same time, the total estimated number of persons employed in the same sector during the same period was 191, 176.
In 2015, an attempt by Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP), Ignatius Moswaane to push for formulation of a policy geared towards capacitating the informal sector was thrown out on the basis that it was “unnecessary”.
The motion, which sought to request government to come up with a comprehensive policy to protect the interests of the informal sector, was declared unnecessary as government is already drawing up a policy along that line. The then Trade Minister, Saadique Kebonang told parliament that government is doing something on the matter. At voting time, only two MPs voted with Moswaane while 21 voted against the motion resulting in it being discarded.