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Jobs of 4,000 workers at stake in Botswana apparel sector
May '13
Apparel and textile members of Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association (BEMA) have reported lack of local and export orders for June and beyond, putting jobs of about 4,000 workers at stake. Reasons cited are absence of any bailout from the Government, cash-flow difficulties and high operating costs, including hike in petrol prices and minimum wages.
Last year, BEMA had requested the Government to dole out P500 million over a five-year period to bailout the industry, on the expiry of P38 million rescue package for 2009-11. However, the proposal was rejected due to non-availability of funds.
The subsidy given under 2009-11 plan resulted in the creation of 5,591 jobs during the three-year period in the Botswana textile industry.
This year, the association has resubmitted the P500 million proposal to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which has forwarded the same to the Cabinet for further consideration.
If the bailout is granted, the textile sector will generate jobs and contribute to the development of the economy, said Botswana’s Trade and Industry Minister, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu, on the sidelines of last month’s Africa Business Week held in Frankfurt, Germany.
However, it is not yet clear whether the Government will approve the bailout plan as it is currently planning to tighten its expenditure on expected lower revenues in the future.
BEMA director, Sithembile Dube said that both exporting and local market companies have not received orders for June. He added that the Government is likely to meet textile members this month before it takes a decision on the bailout proposal, Mmegionline reported.
Meanwhile, some major textile and garment firms, like the one based in Gaborone and another in Francistown, have curbed their workforce by at least 300 workers.
BEMA has expressed hope that the Government would positively consider the bailout proposal this time, so that the subsidy granted may lead to safeguard of jobs and enhance competitiveness of the country’s apparel sector.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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