Govt wooes private sector

| September 15, 2015

The private sector should play an entrepreneurial role in the economy.

Delivering a keynote address at the Business Botswana’s 43rd annual general meeting in Gaborone yesterday (September 15), Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Vincent Seretse, said this could be achieved through active participation of the private sector in sectoral and product diversification.

He explained that Business Botswana’s mission, which is “to be the premier voice for all businesses promoting sustainable economic and social development” resonated well with government efforts of developing sustainable enterprises that could create wealth and contribute towards employment creation.

“It is the responsibility of government, and we remain steadfast on this, that is to create a conducive business and investment environment for the private sector to thrive and flourish,” he said.

He noted that government had enacted economic policies such as the revised industrial development policy, special economic zones policy and trade policy.

He said it was clear that the development of globally competitive industries, development of world class businesses in special economic zones and the transformation of cooperatives business into profitable enterprises was not within the remit of government, but the private sector.

“It is the role of the private sector to sniff and identify products with significant volumes and growing market demand that would allow them to set up sustainable and competitive industries that would exploit and benefit from government preferential procurement policy under the Economic Diversification Drive initiative (EDD),” he said.

To facilitate the process of kick-stating business through the EDD procurement process, government directed all its procuring entities to procure their goods and services from locally-based manufactures, service providers and agricultural producers starting April 2015.

Mr Seretse challenged the private sector to emulate government and support each other by taking a bold step of spending budget locally, while government was leveraging on its budget to benefit locally-based manufacturers and services.

Mr Seretse also encouraged the private sector to play their role and leverage on this dispensation to expand their enterprises to supply the domestic market and for distributors to work closely with their counterparts in foreign countries to relocate their manufacturing plans. He stressed that a commitment by all stakeholders to implementation of the EDD procurement directive across all sectors would have a significant impact on the economy.

“It is our responsibility as a collective, to develop our own industry by continuously building strong linkages and domestic value chains as well as a strong entrepreneurial culture in the rest of the economy,” he said.

He added that the significant role of the private sector was to penetrate world markets with exports, while the role of the government, through the work of the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) was to develop and support companies to be export ready by improving their product quality and image as well as engaging them in outward and inward trade.

Mr Seretse, therefore, implored the private sector to take advantage of the market opportunities that the ministry has opened, such as the duty-free quota-free market access for over 6 000 product lines into the US market under AGOA, and free market access into the regional markets under Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC)

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