- Minister Kgafela says he cannot disagree with the entrepreneurs
- Undertakes to consult and ensure regulatory assessment in future
- Assures Coca Cola that its investment is safe in Botswana
Scores of businesses have approached the government with concerns about new regulations aimed at restricting importation of some goods into Botswana.
Beginning on New Year’s day 2022, Botswana put an exhaustive list of fruits and vegetables under an importation ban. The government has also imposed restrictions on importation and export of key grains like sorghum and maize.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mmusi Kgafela, has confirmed that his office is inundated with queries from the business community about the import restrictions. Officially opening a new state-of-the art production line and a water treatment plant worth P310 million at the Coca-Cola plant in Gaborone recently, Minister Kgafela spoke of “business enterprises making the submissions to me that we have (made) some regulations which were imposed upon them without prior regulatory assessment”.
He added that he could not “gainsay what they were submitting to me” and undertook to ensure that whenever any regulation is promulgated in the future, it will “be sent out to the public” and subjected to “regulatory assessment”. “I have now set afoot to revive the unit that is tasked with precisely doing the regulatory impact assessment on behalf of the government,” Kgafela said.
Turning to the occasion at the Coca Cola plant, he said “as an investor, you should be assured of protection in respect of your investment” and that regulatory certainty is consistent with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s pronouncements. The CEO of Coca Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), Jacques Vermeulen, had earlier called for regulatory certainty because an investment like the new production line and the water treatment plant “create opportunities for Botswana and its people”.
“Our investment of more than USD 22 million in the new production line is a clear demonstration of our continued belief in the future of Botswana and a signal of our confidence in Botswana as an investment destination,” Vermeulen said. Meanwhile, South African chain retailers operating in Botswana filed a legal suit against the government after a ban on importation of school uniforms was imposed last year.