Botswana: Foreign retailers plead for operating exemption in Botswana

Gaborone, Botswana (PANA) - Botswana continues to negotiate with foreign chain stores operating retail businesses reserved for local companies to accommodate the non-citizen franchise shops.

Peggy Serame, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry on Wednesday said the ministry, has so far engaged with 14 retail stores.

According to the official, foreign retailers are appealing to work out comprehensive programmes that would see the empowerment of citizens through creation of supply chain linkages and investing in the development of industry.

“As a result of these positive developments, the Ministry has found it fitting to grant exemptions to five retailers to operate reserved business activity,” Serame said.

Proposed commitments indicate that foreign businesses will inter alia conclude supply and design agreements with qualifying local manufacturers and designers to supply the foreign retailers with the requisite goods or services.

Serame applauded the ongoing negotiation citing that some retailers were making positive commitments.

Botswana’s Trade Act reserves general clothing licence for citizens, and to make an exemption where there is a joint venture between citizens and non-citizens and the citizen owns 51% or more in the joint venture.

However, where the citizen ownership falls below this threshold, the minister’s approval is required for an exemption to be granted.

The Trade Act of 2008 has recently seen most clothing chain stores seeking operating licences and making efforts to renew existing licences being at loggerheads with government.

New complexes being built around the country have suffered low tenant occupation, as the enforcement of the law limits foreign traders, mainly South Africans from getting operating licences.
-0- PANA DRW/AR 30Aug2017

30 august 2017 18:46:47

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