All furniture imports coming into the country should be proved by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBs) to allow for reputable quality furniture in the market, said Amjad Mohideen, chairperson of Furniture Manufactures Botswana.
“The low cost furniture imports have crippled our local industry; we cannot grow thus we insist all furniture imports meet BOBs standards before they are sold,” said Mohideen.
He said the industry has been hurt by glut of Chinese cheap furniture and manufactures are struggling to sell furniture as no one wants to buy locally made furniture because cheap Chinese furniture is available.
Mohideen said there is a great improvement in the quality of locally produced furniture; as such there is no need to import. Shops selling their poor quality furniture at very low prices have mushroomed all over the country, out numbering the local furniture shops.
In addition, Mohideen said they can’t rely on Government tenders anymore hence they want the big furniture shops to give them a chance and buy their furniture.
“We foresee uneasy times lying ahead, if the big furniture companies do not give us a chance,” said
“In the cutthroat business climate, more and more furniture companies are taking advantage of cheaper furniture to survive, leaving local manufactures with no market for their furniture,” Mohideen said.
“Despite their low quality, the cheap price is the main reason why Batswana and furniture companies prefer Chinese furniture.”
If this prevailing situation continues, manufactures will be forced to lay off a considerable number of employees of which the employment generation of this industry is considerable in the country.
He said the government should protect local industry so that they can be able to grow.
“Government should make sure that they give the local industry a chance to grow and become globally competitive,” said Mohideen. “The government should ensure that BOBs standards should be enforced on all imports to protect our industry.”
Furniture manufacturing remains one of the major industries in the country that has a number of micro, small and medium sized enterprises.