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Sefalana opens new store in Mogoditshane

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…More expected before the year-ends

Former Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe has urged members of the community to take advantage of the local investment opportunities to contribute to economic development and eradicate poverty. Officially opening the 54th Sefalana Shopper store in Mogoditshane, Kedikilwe said currently economic conditions are not pleasing but people can always find a way out of financial turmoil.

He said there are lot of opportunities in Botswana that Batswana can take advantage of to relieve themselves from poverty. “I urge all Batswana, especially the youth and those on the government schemes to take advantage of opportunities. You can collaborate and buy shares in some of the big enterprises like Sefalana and earn a living. This is what entrepreneurship is all about,” said Kedikilwe.

He said Sefalana is a public company listed on Botswana Stock Exchange. Its shareholders include the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (42 percent), Debswana Pension Fund (7 Percent) and Motor Vehicle Accident Fund at 12 percent. “Despite tough economic conditions Sefalana is working hard to create employment and relieve Batswana out of poverty.

This company is run by devoted people who ensure that it is profitable,” said Kedikilwe. Sefalana has operations in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Lesotho. In its year ended April 2017, the group recorded 16 percent decline in profit to P173 million due to depressed economic conditions, which resulted in low consumer confidence.

Sefalana Group Managing Director, Chandra Chauhan said the group has attempted to diversify the businesses by introducing other products and services into the stores by focusing on the entire supply chain to extract efficiencies and through continued focus on expansion into the region. “We have taken a conservative approach to new store openings in Botswana as we did not see this year as the right time to increase our overhead base when consumer spending has fallen,” he said. The group is set to open two more shops in Botswana this year, one in Tlokweng and a Cash and Carry in Mogoditshane.

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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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