Government procurement departments ought to understand the conditions under which the textile industry operates to avoid further crumbling of the textile industry, MacDonald Peloetlepse, chairman of the Botswana Textile Association, has said.
“The time frame and timing tenders are advertised is not favourable on our part; we are not able to compete for those tenders,” said Peloetlepse. “They advertise a tender for a period of six weeks; for us, we need six weeks to source material to do samples (so) automatically we lose the tender.”
He added that: “We rely on government for most of our tenders, in particular the three major departments: Botswana Defence Force, Botswana Prisons and Botswana Police and we have already lost the recent tender.”
Peloetlepse said the intention by government to hold up the industry is there “but people in the offices are making it difficult for players in the industry”. “The textile sector has not managed to find its grounding in order to trade locally and regionally and internationally, hence it seriously needs government assistance,” said Peloetlepse. “We are appealing to them to extend the advertising period for tenders to two months, not six weeks, to allow free competition,” he said.
He added: “For the 2011-2012 financial year, we have failed to contribute anything towards the country’s GDP; we are currently operating on overdraft,” he said. “Financial institutions are not willing to take the risk to breathe life (into textile industry) by financing us.”
Peloetlepse said that the local textile industry can be revived if procurement departments work hand in hand with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and with us.”
He revealed that a lot of companies have since closed; with his company, Marine Garments, having retrenched 400 employees and was now left with only 50 employees as of last year.
“This is a negative effect to the industry considering that the textile industry is the greatest employer in the manufacturing sector,” said Peloetlepse.
The sector suffered major blows in the last few years which resulted in loss of jobs whilst companies shut down in this sector. Peloetlepse said they have already handed in the proposal to Government to consider extending the Special Support Programme to the textile industry.