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Tax incentives for SPEDU companies

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The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo has said plans are underway to introduce a specific regional tax incentive through which companies operating in the Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) will be granted the Development Approval Orders. Matambo told parliament this week that his ministry together with that of Investment, Trade and Industry, is busy finalising this instrument.

“Under this tax incentive, companies that are approved as SPEDU companies will be taxed at a rate of 5 percent for the first five years after coming into effect of the Development Approval Order for existing companies and at a tax rate of 10 percent thereafter,” he told parliament. This incentive forms part of the Selibe Phikwe Revitalisation Strategy. Minister Matambo was responding to specially elected MP, Bogolo Kenewendo’s inquiry on what state incentives the Ministry provides for investment outside Gaborone to other urban centres.

Kenewendo also wanted to establish which regional specific tax incentives would be introduced. As a norm, the government provides infrastructure including roads, power, telecommunications and water to all areas in Botswana to make the areas attractive to investors. With regards to Income Tax Act, Matambo said there are tax incentives provided and they apply across all taxpayers who qualify for such incentives elsewhere. These he said, are expected to encourage investment since taxpayers are able to re-invest the amounts they saved as a result of reduced tax burden.

Tax incentives currently offered under Income Tax Act are; Development Approval offered on a case to case basis on application by tax payers. This may include a tax holiday, a reduced tax rate for a limited number of years and accelerated depreciation or capital allowance. Another tax incentive is the Sector Specific Development Approval Orders- offered to companies that are currently offered reduced tax rates and registered under the Botswana Innovation Hub and International Financial Services Centre. Companies approved for these tax incentives are granted a reduced tax rate of 15 percent as opposed to the current corporate tax rate of 22 percent.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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