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Business Botswana media sectors calls for media levy

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Business Botswana media sector committee has motivated the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration through the Office of the President to introduce a media levy in Botswana.

The proposal which was routed through government’s spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay sometime in October 2015, will amongst other things promote, sponsor, authorise, manage, control or cause to be arranged, organised, conducted, authorised or commissioned, the obtaining of all kinds of advertising research, media audience research, surveys, investigations and reports.

It will further publish media audience and product/brand research for the benefit of all stakeholders.Moreover, the levy will also assist in training for the industry, advocacy and awareness raising.

It is also expected to fund the Advertising Standards Authority, which would be a self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in Botswana. Its role would be to regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in Botswana by investigating complaints made about adverts, sales promotions or direct marketing, and deciding whether such advertising complies with its advertising standards codes.

The proposal was prepared by Thabo Majola, Vice Chairperson Business Botswana Media Sector.

Speaking to Midweek Sun recently, Dr Jeff Ramsay said that government welcomes the proposal. “There has been a discussion on such a concept for many years and this has come at a good time. We believe it will shape and develop the local media industry further. It is part of the High Level Consultative Council and it has to go through other stages until the final full report is given to the Minister,” said Ramsay.  

Majola told The Midweek Sun that the stakeholders are still discussing the modalities and details of the levy. “We are hoping that the levy will be introduced this year if things go as anticipated,” he added.

The proposal indicates that there is need in Botswana to have comprehensive, unbiased, reliable, regular and technically excellent survey. “Its purpose would be to provide data about the use of the mass media, and the consumption of products and services by users of the mass media.

The research data produced has to be comprehensive enough so that it could be used for target marketing and aid advertisers, and their advertising agencies in taking decisions about the selection of media for their advertising campaigns. Media owners have to be able to use the data to market their media, and for strategic editorial and programme planning,” reads part of the proposal.

There have in the past been attempts to report on the readership of newspapers and magazines and listenership of radio stations by way of surveys, which were commissioned by publishers themselves and BOCRA to large extent.

According to the proposal, “In order to best meet the requirements of users, it’s important that we conduct research that is jointly controlled by the advertisers, the advertising agencies and media owners. This would ensure complete acceptance of the survey data because it’s planning would be conducted impartially, and all interested parties would supervise the field work and report production.”

The proposed structure
An institute or Foundation needs to be set up. Proposed names are the Media Research Institute/Foundation.

The proposal is to then appoint Board of directors representing all interested stakeholders under the Business Botswana Media Sector and representatives from the Government. The board will be responsible for playing the oversight role and ensuring that all research is conducted and service providers are appointed in clear and transparent manner.

It will be the responsibility of the Executive Director and the board to approve the Institute or Foundation’s strategy and staffing requirements. The main mandate will be to ensure that the general public has access to proper research statistics and for the collection of the Levy from the various media houses.

How will the Media Research Institute/Foundation be funded?

The collection of the levy should be straight forward process. The funds will be collected by media owners on behalf of the industry. The proposal is to charge 1.5 percent levy on all advertising placed in Botswana.

The levy is calculated after all discounts and agency commissions have been deducted. The levy should be remitted on monthly basis. This can be discussed and agreed upon by all the members of the Business Botswana media sector.

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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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