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Botswana textile industry seeks export sops

Nov 25, 2016
Botswana textile industry seeks export sops

The Botswana Textile and Clothing Association (BTCA) has sought measures including action on export incentives, tendering system and release of permits for skilled foreign workers, among others, to bail out the industry. According to the (BTCA) President, Mohammad Shahid Ghafoor the textile sector can play a pivotal role in diversifying the economy ensuring that the country relies less on minerals. He said the industry has traditionally been a large employer, adding that the need for both skilled and unskilled labour is always high. 

Ghafoor pleaded with government to re-introduce production based incentives, which he said will help the industry become competitive as it faces high utility costs, low productivity, lack of skilled labour and extra logistical expenses which increase the cost of their finished goods. “We understand that direct subsidy to operational cost is against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules but we are sure that the ministry can work out some production and performance-based incentives,” he said. He also noted that local companies that were exporting to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were receiving support from the government in the form of duty credit certificates, which have since been stopped. 

According to Ghafoor although the challenges are many, the textile sector has the potential for increased employment and foreign exchange earnings through regional and international trade. He pointed out that the recent extension of AGOA beyond 2015 could help this sector sustain employment.