Gaborone — Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Ms Peggy Serame has painted a positive picture of Botswana's domestic business environment.
"I must note that we are observing a rising spirit of entrepreneurship, particularly amongst our youth, there is an increase in businesses being registered, funded, nurtured and supported to produce quality goods and services for the local and export market," she told a #PushaBW forum at the ongoing virtual Global Expo 2020 in Gaborone yesterday.
Through the #PushaBW campaign, she said, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) had supported over 143 companies by enabling their participation at local and international exhibitions.
Ms Serame said over 115 companies had been profiled on BITC social media platforms to further expose them to domestic and international markets.
In addition, she said the number of retailers supporting the initiative of providing shelf space for local products in their shops had increased significantly compared to last year.
Ms Serame said through the recently-launched revised Botswana Exporter Development Programme by BITC and UNDP, government was capacitating companies to produce competitively quality products to penetrate both local and international markets.
She called on government and every Motswana to step up efforts for the production and consumption of local products and services, which would have a trickling effect of creating jobs.
The minister said COVID-19 challenges, coupled with the over P70 billion import bill, had compelled government to refocus and revamp food and medical supplies production to ensure security and self-sustenance.
In an effort to encourage consumption of locally produced goods and ensure market access, all relevant and targeted support measures promoting the expansion of local products and services would be put in place, she said.
She said the #PushaBW initiative must contribute to increasing the variety and improving the quality of locally produced goods and services to make them competitive in the domestic, regional and international markets.
Launched in 2018, Ms Serame said the initiative's aim was to rally Batswana and all residents to make conscious decisions to buy locally produced goods and services.
It was also aimed at improving the productive capacity of local producers which contributed to creation of more employment opportunities, she said.
Its other objective, she said, was to encourage retail stores to carry locally produced goods and services.
"We do this cognizant of our obligations under the bilateral and multilateral agreements which we are party to," she said.
Minister Serame said there were special dispensations under World Trade Organisation (WTO), Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and SADC agreements allowing members to use internal instruments to support the development of their industries.
Ms Serame urged producers of goods and services to continuously improve products quality and standards in order to meet international benchmarks including labelling, packaging and coding.
Source : BOPA