Amjad Mohideen, the Chairman of furniture manufacturers, has appealed to government to set a quota for large multinational retail furnisher shops in order to protect the local industry.
Mohideen said large multinational retail furnishers do not support local industry as they order most of their products from South Africa and China.
“Government should intervene and introduce a regulation that would compel multinational furnishers in this country to support local furniture designers,” said Mohideen.
He said retail shops like Bears, Furnmart, and Supreme furnishers should buy locally manufactured furniture instead of conflicting government initiative to diversify the economy.
He said no one wants to buy locally-made furniture because cheap Chinese furniture is available. Mohideen appealed to retailers to recondition their minds to believe that quality furniture is produced locally.
“There is a great improvement in the quality of locally produced furniture; as such, there is no need to import,” he said.
Mohideen said it’s not practical that retailers denounce all locally manufactured products. “We don’t get any chance to sell our products to them because every time we approach them, they say they have enough in stock,” he said, adding that furniture companies are taking advantage of cheaper furniture to survive, leaving local manufactures with no market for their furniture.
Mohideen said the furniture industry has a P500 million market available to capture locally, if retail furniture shops support the manufactures. “There is so much opportunity for the furniture industry to grow locally and create employment,” he said. “We need support from the local furniture shops if we are to capture the P500 million market.”
Shops selling their poor quality furniture at very low prices have mushroomed all over the country, outnumbering the local furniture shops. The furniture industry is one of the big five industries in Botswana, employing about 3500 workers.