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Policy positions Botswana to trade globally

04 Jun 2023

The newly launched National Quality Policy (NQP) is set to position Botswana to competitively participate in regional and global trade.

It was on such backdrop that the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mmusi Kgafela emphasised the need for concerted efforts to implement the policy, which was launched in Gaborone recently.

“Implementation of the National Quality Policy will give Botswana the impetus it needs, to transform and drive from high-middle to high-income economy,” Mr Kgafela said.

He therefore challenged the industry, SMMEs, private and public sectors to be proactive in using standards, conformity assessments service and technical regulation in a quest to improve quality of their products and services.

He also    called for  modernisation of quality infrastructure and technical regulation to meet international best practice as key to improvement of quality of products and services.

“Successful implementing the policy will result in increased exports, growth in revenue, increase job creation, while on the other hand resulting in reduction in import bill leading to self-sufficiency and the much needed sustainable economy,” he added.

Mr Kgafela said the NQP further aimed to create awareness on quality with a view to changing the mindset of Batswana from a price to quality culture.

“This is whereby the public is made aware of the need to prioritise quality over price. Quality culture is an environment where consumers demand quality on products and services they consume,” he explained.

He therefore pointed out that an environment in which producers, manufacturers, public and private sector service providers brought forth quality in their offerings, created an environment in which Botswana through implementation of technical regulations, did not become a dumping site for substandard goods.

He said one of the most effective means of attaining a quality culture was promotion of use of standards.

That, he said, was done through referencing standards specifications in both tender documents Invitation to Tender (ITT) and regulations.

The minister therefore called upon the procurement professionals in both public and private sector as well as the regulators to inculcate the practice of referencing standards specifications and desist from the use of brand names, especially in their ITTs.

“It should be known that the use of brand names in tenders is against government aspirations of SMMEs development. It creates unfair competition by granting unfair advantage to the owner of the brand against the new entrant who has no known brand as is usually the case with SMMEs,” he said. He further said the NQP advocated support for SMMEs to conform to standards and technical regulation.

“It is a known fact that SMMEs contribute tremendously to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The policy challenges both SMMEs and their supporting stakeholders to use standards in provision of products and services,” he added.

He called for participation of private sector in providing conformity assessment services such as testing and calibration thereby contributing to private sector development.

Meanwhile, Mr Kgafela indicated that to attain quality, the ministry had established the national quality office within the ministry, which would work directly with Botswana Bureau of

Standards (BOBS) and various stakeholders to drive to the successful implementation of the policy. For his part, Assistant Minister of Health, Mr Sethomo Lelatisitswe hailed the launch of the NQP, saying it depicted one of the hallmarks towards Botswana’s global competitiveness to address pertinent issues with regard to quality infrastructure.

Mr Lelatisitswe said it pointed to the future direction of standardisation of quality in Botswana and also demonstrated commitment as a nation to rise to internationally recognised values and principles of global competition.

“As well, it aligns Botswana to the global protocols of scientific, trade and industrial metrology, accreditation and regulation. It would promote a quality culture that inspires high levels of innovation, productivity and improved competitiveness,” he said.

He added that for the country to realise its dream of an export led economy, there was need for the products to be of a certain quality that met global standards.

“Therefore Botswana should be on board to remain relevant to the worldwide trade realities dictated by protocols such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as the Reset and Transformation Agenda,” he said.

He therefore commended the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the proactive work in promulgating the national quality policy and continued support. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Lesedi Thatayamodimo

Location : GABORONE

Event : Launch

Date : 04 Jun 2023