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Textile industry forms association

The textile and clothing companies have formed an association that will help in enhancing growth and sustainability of their trade.

Botswana Textile and Clothing Association (BTCA), according to its founding president, Mr Shahid Ghafoor, would promote the development of a globally competitive and sustainable textile and clothing sector in Botswana

In response to a questionnaire, he said BTCA would further assist the sector to increase domestic, regional and international markets share for Botswana textile and clothing in addition to increasing innovation and creativity among its members.

The association’s president was also optimistic that apart from improving quality of clothing products and services, BTCA will promote entrepreneurship in the industry as well as assist clothing businesses access finance in the financial institutions amongst others.

In our efforts to help local companies sustain themselves in a highly competitive global market environment, BTCA will engage in technology advancing where companies will be capacitated on the benefit of using modern technology for efficiency and economies of scale production, explained Mr Ghafoor.

He added that there will also be some technical assistance which is mainly capacity building on business management for sustainability. Furthermore, he said the implementation of the medium to long term strategy will assist to see how best to address the needs of the sector.

Mr Ghafoor however noted that the textile industry faces so many challenges in its day to day running and these include customs procedures where South African Revenue Service (SARS) does not recognise the Botswana Revenue Service (BURS)’s seal as mentioned by one of the exporters.“

Among these issues are labour issues where workers are reluctant to work, to an extent that most companies have adopted a ‘daily target’ measure.

”Mr Ghafoor further said migration of labour or switching of jobs by workers between companies in search of greener pastures hampers the loyalty of employees and affects production and skill base.

He said dependency on Government tenders because of the niche market is another problem as it threatens the survival of the industry.

On other issues, Mr Ghafoor said the recent extension of AGOA beyond 2015 will help sustain the employment of at least 1,000 skilled workers who are presently employed by the only company which is exporting to the USA. AGOA was formed with a motive to help African countries penetrate the US market duty free.

However, as at present, only one company in Botswana is taking advantage of this trade arrangement.

 The challenges of other Textile Companies to take advantage of AGOA are due to the fact that the US market is very competitive and demanding.

Mr Ghafoor also said the cost of logistics are high because Botswana is a landlocked country and for companies to import raw materials and export the finished product, sea ports are far from Botswana, or air transport have to be used. 

He said these factors increase the price of the products.

Moreover, Mr Ghafoor quipped that the local selling price is globally uncompetitive because high costs of imported raw materials, logistics and production increases the selling price of local products hence this makes it difficult for the local goods to compete globally.

“There is a lack of capacity to supply; the quantity needed for export to the US far surpasses the quantity in which local companies have the capacity to produce,” he said.

Mr Ghafoor mentioned that another issue is the high cost of utilities which affects competitiveness. He further said delayed payments when dealing with AGOA also creates cash flow problems for exporting companies.

Mr Ghafoor nonetheless said the association will try by all means to take advantage of duty free trade arrangement through capacity building of companies under AGOA and benchmarking from local companies who used or are using AGOA and derive lessons from AGOA where assessment of the AGOA, its benefit and flaws will be carried out. ENDS

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Sefhako Sefhako

Location : SEROWE

Event : Questionnaire response

Date : Aug 31 Sun,2014

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