Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Truckers take Govt to task over lack of protection

Batswana truck owners are crying foul over what they call unfair competition and treatment by foreign owned truck companies and the government.
 They accuse the government of failing to enact specific legislation that protects the interests of citizen owned truck companies that could give them a competitive edge over their foreign counterparts.
 The interim chairman of the Botswana Truckers Association (BOTRA), Comfort Mokgothu, said most trucks in the country are owned by foreigners and due to the absence of proper legislation guiding the operations of the industry these companies do not even pay tax.
BOTRA met in Gaborone recently to inform their members of their new registration with the Registrar of Societies and also discussed their newly drafted constitution as well as discussing challenges faced by the industry.
┬áMokgothu said some of the foreign owned truck companies charge lower prices that make it difficult for locals “to do business.”
┬á“It should be our responsibility as the association to regulate prices,” he suggested.
Another local truck company owner, Kenaleone Motsaathebe of Lowbed Rentals said as part of their ongoing effort to address the challenge, they intend to seek assistance from bigger organisations dealing with related matters to help them take up the matter with the government and private stakeholders.
“What is happening in this country is an insult. As stakeholders in the industry we should be consulted whenever the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication takes decisions that affect us,” said Motsaathebe.
He called on fellow truck owners to work together in order for their word to carry more weight when raising issues of concern with the relevant authorities.
“This everyone for themselves and God for us all mentality is killing us,” he said.
┬áAnother truck owner lambasted the government for failing to protect its own citizens by giving no-citizen companies “free will to operate as they please while the same courtesy is not extended to Batswana hoping to carry out such operations in other countries”.
┬á“It is difficult for me to set up business in neighbouring countries because they do not allow it,” he said adding that “our country does not belong to us anymore, foreigners are controlling this industry and they view us as fools”.
He accused the government of not investing in its own people.  He also advised Batswana truck owners to stop running companies like tuck-shops.
“Nobody will take us seriously if we do not treat ourselves as such.”
Sebolao Motswiri of Sebo Glo Enterprises however warned fellow citizens to guard against unfair criticism of non-citizen companies saying they also play a significant role in the transport industry.


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