Local retail traders have expressed concern about wholesalers that are selling goods and commodities in single units, saying this is creating unfair competition between wholesalers and small retailers.
According to the Trade Act, wholesales are required to sell in bulk. The Act further states that the word “bulk” is defined as quantities of goods as packaged by the manufacturer and not broken into smaller quantities or single items.
“Retailers are allowed to sell in smaller quantities or single units,” the Act states in relation to high value items such as fridges, furniture and bicycles, which may be sold in smaller or single units.
Department of Trade and Consumer affairs Director, Rosina Bontsi, told Sunday Standard the Assistant Minister is still addressing the issue for all to come to an amicable solution. “Action continues to be taken during our visits on inspections in various stores,” said Bontsi.
She said that the Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs has been treating such cases either by issuing appropriate action such as fines, charges, suspension or termination of licenses.
Wholesalers selling non-liquor goods and those which sell liquor goods are regulated under the Trade Act, 2003 and Liquor Act, 2003 respectively. Under these Acts wholesales are required to sell in bulk.
According to Choppies Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottappath, this clash between the wholesalers and retail channels has been going on for a long time. He observed that Botswana has a small business market, which will lead to the wholesalers crossing the channels of distribution and retailers doing the same thing.
“In a mature economy worldwide, wholesale category should be 15 percent to 20 percent,” said Ottappath.
He also stated that a lot of wholesale stores exist in Africa more than anywhere in the world. He urged the business community to obey the trade laws and respect them.
According to Gaborone Trans Africa wholesale management, some retailers are making allegations against wholesalers. BOCCIM is the secretariat to the business community.
Trans Africa management revealed that the wholesalers are planning, under the umbrella of BOCCIM wholesale sector, to prepare an appropriate response. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is also reported to be planning a follow-up meeting during the beginning of the year to address the issue.