The current economic climate of soft commodity prices provides an opportune time for the government and stakeholders to change their business focus.
It adds impetus for Botswana to reform the business environment and usher in a dynamic, resilient, globally competitive and diversified private sector,” Leta Mosienyane, President of Business Botswana said during the De Beers and Chatham House conference in Gaborone. It was held under the theme: Connecting Resources and Society in Botswana.
“Therefore any support to the business sector should focus on reforms that will improve the business environment especially in the areas where we are lagging behind,” urged Mosienyane, singling out delays in issuing out investments permits and work permits, which have also been identified in the latest World Bank ‘doing business’ report.
Mosienyane also challenged the private sector to continue negotiating with the government in attracting global talent. “Investors, both domestic and foreign, need certainty and predictability in order to plan their operations. It is important once again, for the private sector to continue to engage the government to ensure that a transparent, predictable and objective system for recruiting global talent is put in place,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, University of Botswana economics senior lecturer, Malebogo Bakwena, called on policy makers to set up targets and time frames when formulating and implementing government programmes so that they will be able to measure their success. She said at times some national programmes were made without set out and stipulated timeframes, making it difficult to measure their achievements.
“We need to set time and specific targets when implementing plans. The policy makers should ask themselves what the target is. For example in the manufacturing sector, what is the target growth, like for example one percent every year or 0, 5 percent every year rather than just saying we want to stimulate the manufacturing sector,” said Bakwena.
Bakwena also said Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should try to build partnerships with established companies so that they will be able to develop into big companies. “Collaboration is also important because it can assist the SMEs to penetrate the international market,” she said. Bakwena said some SMEs in other countries were able to compete globally through forging alliances with big companies.
“For example the Mauritius textile industry networked and forged alliances with foreign companies and through that they were able to compete globally,” said Bakwena. Mosienyane used the opportunity to urge government to speed up the privatisation of parastatals, lamenting that the process remains painfully slow.
“But we are hopeful that the Initial Public Offering of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) will finally take place before the end of the year. The IPO has been postponed on several occasions and therefore risks undermining our credibility in the investment community,” said Mosienyane.
Cell City rewards customers
Cell City gave away two Toyota Hilux pick up cars worth about P300 000 and three Hisense televion sets worth P15 000 each to their customers through their annual competition.
In partnership with Hisense and Orange Botswana, Cell City conducts annual competitions to reward their customers and contribute to citizen empowerment. Handing over the cars on Friday, Cell City Chief Executive Officer, Brian White said through the competition they want to satisfy their customers and give back to the community. “Cell City and Orange clients were given a chance to win either a Toyota Hilux pickup or a Hisense television set.
All they had to do was purchase any Hisense mobile phone from a Cell City or Orange retail outlet and fill in the competition form in the store,” said White.Thato Ntshabele, who won one of the cars told the Business Trends that she bought a Hisense cell phone worth P900. 00.
“I never expected that I can win a car. I was just filling the forms and dropped into the entry box and I forgot about it. I am so happy to receive this prize and I thank Cell City for this opportunity,” said Ntshabele. Another winner, Dimakatso Mmusi expressed his excitement saying he had always wanted a van and he is grateful to Cell City.
“I just bought a cell phone worth P899.00 at Cell City Railpark mall, I never expected anything, and I was just submitting the form as I was requested by the shop assistants. This car is very useful to me,” said Dimakatso.
Smecha chillie hits the shelves
For the love of food and the passion to apply modern technology processes in food manufacturing locally, Kgalaletso Mothoagae established her own brand, Smecha specializing in relishes.
She processes and packages chillie in 325 gramms and 1 litre bottles selling at P50 and P150. She told the Business Trends that she decided to process chillies as it is one of the products that are rarely processed in the food industry.
She started cooking it for home consumption and later started selling to friends and currently the product has gone beyond borders at South African Spar shops and Restaurants. “I couldn’t look for any other vegetable as most of them have already been processed in the market. It is my first product of research in the food industry so I found out that I can do good business with this product. This chillie is free from preservatives but still has extended shelf life of 6 months,” said Mothoagae
The Kanye born young lady studied food technology and has the passion to explore the food processing market in Botswana and contribute to reduce the high food import bill. “I wanted to explore more about food and use my skills to contribute to the development of the local food processing and manufacturing industry. I also wanted to supplement my income at the same time,” said Mothoagae.
She has a degree in Food Technology. She says there is a lot of potential for business growth as there is a demand for the product locally and in South Africa. “My main customers are individuals in homes, they have embraced the product, and they love the taste. There is also a market that has been secured in SA; it is available in several shops like spars and some restaurants”. In future, Mothoagae said she would increase the product range to 10 using various vegetables and flavours.
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