Maun — Knowledge on available trade tools gives companies a competitive edge, Botswana Trade Commission (BOTC) chief executive officer, Mr Pelotshweu Motlogelwa has said.
Mr Motlogelwa was speaking at BOTC and Brand Botswana awareness workshop in Maun on Tuesday.
BOTC, he said, was established in 2013 to exercise the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) agreement of 2002.
He said BOTC regulated import of goods and services into Botswana and also provided Infant Industry protection to emerging industries for eight years, which allowed for a ban on imports on a particular product.
In his remarks, BOTC board chairperson, Dr Howard Sigwele, said Botswana and all SACU member states lagged behind in establishing a SACU tariff board in each of the five member states.
He said a temporary tariff board, which served all the SACU member states had been established in South Africa.
The board, he said, was vital since it determined whether to reduce or increase tax by the SACU member states.
Dr Sigwele said BOTC facilitated an open economy in which the private sector could also import and export.
He noted that the private sector and non-governmental organisations were main players in export of goods and services.
Members of the business community suggested a need to increase the industry infancy protection years from eight to more than that.
One Maun businessman, Mr Bernard Wellio said the eight years grace period for infant industries was not enough for companies to settle and recover costs spent on the inception stages.
Another businessman, Mr James Evans concurred that the eight years period was little and must be reviewed.
Mr Evans, who is also Business Botswana Maun chairperson, pledged that his office would work with BOTC to attain its mandate in Maun.
Source : BOPA