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Statutory instruments on import ban bear fruits - MITI

Publishing Date : 21 October, 2019


Since beginning of 2018, Ministry of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) has been making use of it statutory powers on cross boarder trading. The Ministry has been restricting importation of some selected goods from outside Botswana, forcing the market to source the commodities locally. This is done predominantly to give space for locally produced and packaged goods and push for their retail and shelve uptake by the domestic market.

MITI says the country has reaped positive results. Improved participation of Botswana produced and packaged goods in the market have been birthed, this was revealed at the Stanbic Bank Botswana Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) seminar held in Gaborone this week. Deliberating on this, Director of Industrial Affairs at the Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry, Obusitwe Tiroesele said some trading and industrial licenses will continue to be reserved for citizens and companies wholly-owned by citizens of Botswana.

Tiroesele cited licenses such as bottling water, brick-moulding and welding among others. “Since the implementation of the statutory instrument for the restriction of importation of bottled water, 41 enterprises have been established, a total of 22 companies operating in the water bottling sector and the employment level has increased from 196 to 417,” she said. MITI implemented the statutory Instrument No.44 of 2018 to ban importation of bottled natural and mineral water in order to give space for the local industry to flourish and birth more jobs for citizens.

The instrument was introduced in April 2018  to impose these restrictions  under the Control of Goods , prices  and other Charges Act , alongside temporary ban of importation of some  product commodities that are viewed  as noncomplex for Botswana based and citizen owned companies to produce and meet full national demand. The statutory instrument also later extended to restriction of importation of salt to promote salt packaging locally and attract more investment, which would, in turn, create employment by prohibiting importation of salt in quantities less than 100kg.

MITI revealed at the seminar that since  inception of the instrument, investment levels of salt packaging companies has increased from P9.925 million to P21.94 million and the number of companies packaging salt increased from six to 15 with an employment level also increased from 56 to 90 employees. Speaking on behalf of Stanbic Bank Botswana, Head of Corporate Investment Banking, Sheperd Aisam, said the seminar was held as part of the Bank’s continued commitment to developing innovative solutions for home-grown African multi-nationals and promotion of local growth.

She said the seminar intended to ultimately map a way forward for all stakeholders to collectively work together for the benefit of the sector and the wider economy. According to Stanbic the initiative was intended to rigorously unpack challenges within the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector in Botswana relating them to regional and global trends as well as derive solutions towards sustainable economic growth. Sherped Aisam said: “We have the responsibility to extend ourselves as a financial partner beyond just banking: we must add value by providing exposure, information and our expertise to our clients to foster an environment that facilitates their growth and success.”

To support the FMCG industry Stanbic provides expertise and relationships to assist clients, and negotiate complex financial and regulatory cross-border environments trade deals. Aisam noted that with engagements from leading minds, industry experts and business leaders the FMCG seminar was an interactive session which afforded the Bank an opportunity to engage with the clients and create an environment where they are able to demonstrate the Bank’s potential and solutions in the Trade Financing space relevant to the clients in the sector.

“Stanbic Bank Botswana is more than just a bank, we are a true partner, dedicated to helping Batswana build their businesses and create their own legacies. We are wholly driven by a nuanced desire to ensure progress through collaboration. For us, it is not just about having a partner on the journey; it is being more and doing more. It is about someone who sees how far you can go in the distance because with Stanbic Bank Botswana Corporate & Investment Banking, your story is our story,” he said.

Giving an overview of the FMCG sector in Botswana, Stanbic Bank Head of Transactional Products and Services, Ms Tebogo Giddie said from a research perspective there are currently global trends such as environmental awareness whereby a lot of consumers were more cognizant of the negative effects of the development of products and by-products that influence consumer habits.