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BQA reduceS fees for youth entrepreneurs

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As part of efforts to cushion budding entrepreneurs, Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) has halved its fees for youth applicants.

The development comes after fees amendment regulations announced this month, repealing the Authority’s June 2016 fees.“We want to enable more youth into the education sector,” said Selwana Pilatwe-Koppenhaver, BQA spokesperson. The amended fees include accreditation of learning programmes, registration and accreditation of training sites, registration and accreditation of training providers, and many other services associated with BQA.

Pilatwe-Koppenhaver said stakeholders have in the past lamented the high fees charged by the Authority and hence the decision to review the fees and further lure youth, by charging 50 percent of the fees.“We want to be youth friendly,” said Pilatwe-Koppenhaver.Under the 2016 regulations, BQA charged a fee of ten thousand pula to register an early childhood institution and under the new structure, application is now P5000.00 and a renewal fee of P2000.00.

However, youth business will pay half of the fees and are also allowed to propose a payment scheme if they are not capable to pay the once off fee. Some of the charges that have been reduced include primary school registration which is now P10 000.00 pula, secondary P 15 000.00 and consultancy P10 000.00. Apart from reviewing its fees, the Authority has also flexed its muscles to pounce on unregistered institutions, this year.

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Market Street day supports local products

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has encouraged citizens to promote and support local products thus contributing to employment creation and economic development.

Speaking during the ministry’s Market Street day on Saturday, the trade minister said the ministry came up with the initiative to expose local products to the national market. “The plan is to keep growing so that we get Batswana products in the shops and get Batswana to know the products in the shops,” said Kenewendo. Market street day was initiated last year as a platform to add on to the continuing efforts to grow local businesses. This year, retail sector, including Shoprite, Choppies and Ackerman’s from South Africa participated in the exhibition.

Kenewendo pointed out that supporting local products helps reduce export of jobs. “Most of Batswana will say they don’t want to buy locally produced goods because they are of low quality, we need to buy from them so that they grow. When we buy products from other countries we are exporting jobs, why should we export jobs?” she asked rhetorically. Economic diversification drive should not be a Government initiative alone, only but all citizens should contribute, she concluded.

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Botswana behind in ease of doing business

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Botswana has been challenged to improve easy of doing business for the country to remain competitive amongst its peers.

The Director of Investor Facilitation and Relations at Special Economic Zones Authority’s (SEZA), Neo Mahube recently told delegates at the two- day investment symposium dubbed Doing Business in Botswana, Transitioning Botswana that the country needs to be globally competitive.“The world is growing better than we are, there is something that we are not doing right, despite our political stability and sound economic policies,” said Mahube.

Currently, Botswana lags behind Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa on the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Mahube said bottlenecks that investors and local startups face to register a business should be resolved.

“We need to transform the way we are doing business, if we are to bring businesses to Botswana,” said Mahube, adding that the country needs to be as efficient as possible to start a business, apart from improving credit efficiency.

She however applauded government for legislation amendment initiatives that have already been put in place ahead of the transformation journey. Mahube said through transforming the ease of doing business the country has potential to create employment.

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