The recent decisions by government of Botswana impose restrictions on importation of goods will clamp down on South Africa, which is Botswana’s major trade partner among its neighbouring countries.
Recently Botswana invoked the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act and restricted the importation of bottled water as well as cement. The regulations restrict importation of bottled water in small quantities and only allows for 10 litres or more. The regulations were gazetted on the 6th of April this year and will come into force at the beginning of August. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the water bottling sector and assisting in the national diversification,” revealed Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo.
The Ministry of Trade is also in the process of assisting the cement industry by restricting importation of cement following an analysis that showed that the sector has the potential to create employment for the citizens and contribute to economic diversification. “The proposed restrictions will require that 70 percent of cement be sourced from local manufacturing companies and 30 percent be imported,” he said.
“The importation of cement will be done through the issuance of import permit after the importer has submitted evidence that indeed they have satisfied the 70 percent requirement.” The implementation is envisaged to come into force on the 1st of September this year. Government has also taken the decision to put restrictions on importation of salt of less than 100kg and exportation of Scrap Metal before satisfying the local demand.
Information gathered indicates that Botswana's major imports from South Africa include Mineral Products, Machinery and Precious metals making up the top three exports to Botswana. Other significant imports from South Africa to Botswana include Prepared foodstuffs, Chemicals, Vehicles and Products from Iron and Steel.â€¨â€¨According to South African Market Insights, total exports to Botswana in 2017 amounted to over P30 billion.
Meanwhile, on the flipside the total Botswana exports to South African amounted to just over P3 billion, which leaves Botswana with a trade deficit with South Africa of more than P26 billion. Botswana also recently took a decision to refuse to offer exemption for licenses in businesses which are reserved for citizens in the retail sector. The decision has created a conflict between government and South African retailers.
Despite these trade decisions being likely to affect South Africa companies, in 2017 at a ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), luncheon then African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe gave thumbs up to then Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse’s policy to reserve certain retail businesses for Batswana, which has seen the dominant South African retailers being put on the sidelines.
The policy has seen the clash between property owners and South African retailers, who feel hard done by the policy. “I do not have a problem with that if it is meant to empower the citizens [of Botswana]. In South Africa we have localisation policy which we encourage businesses to buy from our people. If you have a small farmer where do you expect them to sell?”said Mantashe who has since been appointed Minister of Minerals in that country.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.