Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo says her ministry is focused on identifying and advocating for the elimination of impediments to trade. Addressing her inaugural press briefing recently, Kenewendo said her ministry’s efforts are geared towards certifying that the prevailing environment avails opportunities for both local and foreign investors to set up sustainable and competitive business enterprises which are export ready culminating in economic growth and employment creation.
Kenewendo called the press conference to share her ministry’s roadmap following a leadership retreat that was held in Selebi-Phikwe a week ago. She was flanked by Deputy Minister Moiseraele Master Goya, Permanent Secretary Peggy Serame, Directors in the ministry and Chief Executive Officers of all the 11 parastatals that fall under the ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry.
‘‘The ministry is prioritising entrepreneurship and the advancement of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) as the catalyst to achieving economic growth and development as well as economic diversification’’, Kenewendo said.
The minister told the media that her ministry will review regulatory burdens that may impact negatively on SMMEs and that this will entail working closely with relevant institutions to undertake the impact assessment before any Law, Bye-Law, Directive or Policy is implemented to ensure that it does not create any impediments to SMME development and growth.
Kenewendo said her ministry has observed that the mandates of some of the parastatals are converging resulting in some overlaps and duplications. “There are eleven parastatals in this ministry and a rationalisation exercise is ongoing in that regard; and the exercise will go a long way in eliminating duplication of efforts across the ministry’s parastatals where existent culminating in improved service quality’’, the minister said.
Turning her focus to SPEDU, the minister said SPEDU is currently facilitating 16 projects in the Selebi-Phikwe region. ‘‘The number of jobs created since mine closure is 754 and SPEDU continues to come up with initiatives geared towards attracting investment into the SPEDU region’’, she highlighted.
On the initiatives that her ministry has put in place to support local manufacturing companies, Kenewendo said as a way of promoting the development of the water bottling sector and attracting investment, the Ministry has put in place measures to restrict the importation of bottled water. ‘‘The regulations restrict importation of bottled water in small quantities and only allows for 10 litres or more’’, Kenewendo said. She said the regulations were gazetted on the 6th April 2018 and will enter into force on 1st August 2018.
Kenewendo said her ministry is in the process of assisting the cement industry by restricting importation of cement. She said this is motivated by an analysis that showed that the sector has the potential to create employment for Batswana and contribute to economic diversification. ‘‘The proposed restrictions will require that 70 percent be sourced from local manufacturing companies and 30 percent be imported’’, the minister highlighted.