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Govt. pumps P2bn into road infrastructure

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Government is planning to invest up to P2 billion in the country’s road network in the upcoming financial year, finance minister, Kenneth Matambo has disclosed. He made the announcement when delivering the 2018/19 budget speech earlier in the week, emphasising that, road infrastructure, which is worth billions of Pula in total value is important for the country’s growth and economic diversification, hence the need for continuous upgrading and maintenance of road assets.

“A well-developed and maintained road network can contribute to efficiency in the distribution of goods and services within and outside the country, which is necessary for maintaining competitiveness of domestic entities in the global market,” said Matambo.

The finance and economic development minister told legislators in a televised speech that, about P1, 5 billion would also be used to maintain the country’s roads. The above funds will be taken from the road levy collections. Some of the roads, which will be funded, include Mogoditshane-Gabane-Mmankgodi-Road, Gaborone-Boatle dualing, Mulambakwena -Tshesebe road, Dibete-Mookane-Machaneng road, among others.

The country’s road sector is among the biggest consumer of government budget, attracting several contractors-big and small. The industry has also attracted controversy ranging from shoddy and incomplete jobs to irregular awarding of tenders by some government officials. Addressing contractors a week ago, transport and communications minister, Kitso Mokaila said they will no longer tolerate contractors who provide shoddy work, since they increase projects cost resulting in cost overruns. Incompetent companies will be barred from doing any future government works, warned the outspoken minister.

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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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