7 August 2018

Botswana: Trade Ministry Ensures Companies Withstand Market Challenges

Gaborone — Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Ms Peggy Serame says their role is to ensure that industries are in a position to withstand all the challenges in the market.

Speaking during the tour of RO3 Waters, she said her Ministry existed to support all companies and give some form of incentives so that they withstand the competition.

She therefore emphasised the importance of their periodic visits to the industries.

Ms Serame expressed hope that RO3 Waters would grow to greater heights and enlist more customers at the same time employing more Batswana.

For his part, director for business development at RO3 Oasis Water, Gaborone Mr Kumbulani Munamati said with the current growth in the industry and modern agriculture, access to safe water was proving to be a challenge.

"The intention is, therefore, to purify and distribute clean, healthy and safe water to the nation," he said.

He noted that the creation of industries and modern agriculture brings with them biological and chemical pollutants into sources of water being rivers, dams and ground water.

He said most of the pollutants that were found in water include bacteria, viruses, protozoa and other hosts of chemicals.

Mr Munamati however observed that their business was facing challenges of the dominance of the retail space by South African franchises that tends to support only cross-border suppliers and resist to list with local companies.

The other challenges they faced, he said, was the rentals as they were high, adding that utility costs like water and electricity were similarly exorbitant.

He also complained about lack of financial support from local banks.

"We are part of an involving industry with approximately 25 companies," he said explaining that 58 per cent was owned by citizens, 26 per cent non-citizens while 16 per cent was joint ventures.

Mr Munamati said the industry had a staff complement of about 260 people, 65 per cent of which are females and about 85 per cent youth.

He said the business started by opening stores in the four main retail centres of Rail Park Mall, Carbo-Centre at River Walk, Kagiso Centre at BBS Mall and Mowana Mall in Phakalane, where purification and distribution were core while another store was opened in Molepolole with similar structures.

To support the stores and the corporative market, he said they have set up a factory in Block 8 with two automated machines for bottling and capping, a juice mixing machine and a sparkling and flavored water machine.

"At the moment, the factory has not yet started moulding bottles to the customer's specification, leading to the factory importing such bottles as there is no plastic bottle moulding machine in Botswana," Mr Munamati said.

He said they produced about 20 million litres of water per year and the machine could bottle up to 8 000 litres in a day.

Speaking about the process of water purification, marketing and sales manager Mr Banny Munamati said with Reverse Osmosis Process water from the Elements goes through the reverse osmosis membrane.

This, he said, was to screen and remove contaminants such as fluorides, lead, arsenic, chromium, nitrate sand as well as make a 98 per cent reduction in the dissolved solids such as sodium in the water.

Source : BOPA

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