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Matambo calls for prudence

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The 2018/19 financial year budget points to a constrained fiscal space, which continues to characterise the domestic economy. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo says this is mainly a result of slow growth in revenues, coupled with continued expenditure pressures due to additional budgetary requirements by various Ministries.

“Total revenues and grants for the 2018/19 financial year are estimated at P58.81 billion, with the largest amount of P19.67 billion of the total revenues expected to be accounted for by mineral revenue.”For the financial year 2016/17, total revenue and grants amounted to P56.8billion, which represented 2.0 percent over the target of P55.9billion estimated in the revised budget.

Of this amount, 39.6percent was mineral revenue; 20.8 percent customs and excise;16,8 percent non-mineral income tax; 11.6percent Value Added Tax and 5,0 percent Bank of Botswana (BoB) revenue. Except for mineral, customs and excise and BoB revenue items, the performance of most revenue items in the budget outturn were below their targets.

Mineral revenue outperformed its target in the revised budget by 8.0 percent due to increased mineral tax received during the financial year following sale of the diamond inventory. Meanwhile, for the 2018/19 financial year, the budget strategy paper by Minister Matambo outlines that Customs and excise is projected to account for the second largest share of total revenue at P14.00billion, which translates to 23.8 percent.

This will be followed by non-mineral income tax at P13.36billion (22.7 percent) and VAT at P8.11billion (23.8 percent) of the total. The remaining 6.3 percent of the total revenues expected in 2018/19 financial year will come from BoB, as expected earnings on government investment account of the foreign exchange reserves and other revenues, which is mainly property income taxes, fees and grants from donors and development partners.

Matambo called for prudent spending by government ministries and departments. “We need a budget that provides for better infrastructure, stimulates economic activities and create employment opportunities,” he said. He also called for close monitoring of expenditures to ensure that there is value for money.

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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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