Textile producers seek extension of stimulus package
Domestic textile producers in Botswana have sought further extension of the Government's stimulus package which is likely to end in December this year.
The textile producers voiced this demand at a forum meeting held by Botswana Export Manufacturers Association (BEMA).
The special support programme was a two-year plan introduced by the Botswana Government in the form of a P38 million rescue plan aimed at retrieving the labour that the textile industry lost due to closure of some of the production units, following the slump that the industry experienced in 2008 due to global financial crunch.
MacDonald Peloetletse, Executive Director of Marine Garments (Pty) Ltd, while pressing the case for prolonging the special support programme stated that the industry has yet not recuperated completely.
He explained that as clothing does not fall in the category of very essential items, its demand declines in times of economic slump and producers do not get sufficient orders.
He said that hit by recession, the textile producers still do not have bulk orders and their businesses are being sustained with Government aid, which if ended would halt orders leading to closure of their units.
According to Peloetletse, as the industry has great employment generation ability, more number of jobs will be created as the industry grows, if the support programme is extended. He asked the Government to analyse all the odds facing the industry before extending the stimulus package.
Further while emphasizing that domestic producers face more difficulties as compared to foreign producers, Peloetletse stated while their foreign counterparts generate employment opportunities, the domestic producers fall short to do so even with same machineries. He added that it is the SMMEs which usually face the hurdles, and hence they should be reasonably assisted.
The Textile Sector Chairperson, Fazul Zahir, who is also the Managing Director of Premier Clothing, held the same opinion and urged the Government to think about continuing the support programme till 2013, while calling for higher commitment from the textile sector.
He said that though the textile producers plead for extension of the support scheme, they also emphasise that the sector too exerts to raise its profitability and thereby increase their contribution to the nation's economy.
He also said that the extension of stimulus package should ensure creation of newer job opportunities.
Besides, he recommended that the industry players should look forward to getting their products certified for quality by obtaining ISO certification from South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS).
Meanwhile, the small scale enterprises have been requested by other stakeholders to associate with large scale enterprises to gain knowledge from them regarding development strategies.
The sum of P22 million apportioned by the Government under the support programme has already been claimed by 153 authorised firms covering 4,346 employees, within a duration of 18 months. In spite of the wage cover, two firms that failed to survive cut throat competition ran out of business, reports revealed.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India