Although the government is pledging its effort in trying to support indigenous businesses as a way of empowering citizens, local industries have been implored to produce goods that are in line with the government procurement standards in terms of prices and quality.
The Director of the Department of Industrial Affairs, in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Violet Mosele, said this during a forum organized by the Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) last week in Selibe Phikwe.
She said that although the government is a staunch supporter of locally produced goods and services, issues of quality and pricing still remain a challenge.
“Government will only procure goods and services that meet tender specifications in terms of quality and price,” she maintained.
Mosele said that citizen businesses could thrive if they use local raw materials like clay, leather, and precious stones from the region, water, tourism and many others.
She highlighted that this would help them in cost reduction of expenses incurred during production and also reduce the costs of their products to be competitive.
The business community, she said, needs to take cognizance of the fact that with effect from January 2010 this year, the government introduced a Special Support programme on Textile and Clothing Industry and the business community has an option of taking advantage of it.
“This is a special programme meant to assist the Textile and Clothing Industry from the effects of economic recession and the program is temporary because it will run for two years,” Mosele stressed.
She indicated that the government is committed to enhancing market access of local industries through procurement within the economy as a whole.
She further added that the government efforts in this regard can be seen through its support of the utilization of locally available resources, like the introduction of the Directive on procurement of Decorations, Landscaping, Arts and Crafts in public offices.
Mosele pointed out that the government also introduced the Directive on the Use of Locally Manufactured Goods and Services (ULMGS), which was introduced to address concerns by the local industries that Government is not buying locally produced goods and services.
“The aim of the Directive is to promote the utilization of government procurement power, whose import bill stands at P15 billion, to drive Economic Diversification and Sustainable Industrial Growth,” she said.
The objective of the forum was to bring about a transparent, accessible and non-discriminatory competitive and dynamic regional market of buyers and consumers/buyers and sellers/suppliers who will ensure economic growth rate of development for the region.
The forum also entailed discussions on government procurement procedures in the SPEDU region. It also entailed discussions on issues that hinder economic growth in the region and to also create an accessible market that is empowered and saturated with opportunities of trade. Other institutions that took part in the discussion included the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), Botswana Unified Revenue Standards (BURS) and the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA).