Botswana: Manufacturers and retailers were urged to work together towards developing a sustainable school uniform industry.
When speaking at the Manufacturer Workshop and Exhibition, which brought together school uniform manufacturers, buyers, business associations, financiers and different business development organisations at Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC), the Acting Minister of Trade and Industry Manake said local manufacturers need support from retailers for them to grow and be competitive in an open economy to create more jobs and economic growth.
She used a Setswana narrative, “Moroto wa o esi ga o ele” which emphasised the importance of working together towards achieving one goal and implored them to join associations, cooperatives and clusters to speak as one voice.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry introduced a Statutory Instrument (SI) on Restriction of the Importation of school uniforms, and it was published in the Government Gazette dated 24th September 2021 after assessments of the local manufacturer’s capacity and engagement with all stakeholders.
The SI aims to support the local textile and clothing industry by ensuring the procurement of school uniforms from local manufacturers aligns with Vision 2036’s aspirations as well as the Reset Agenda, particularly on citizen economic inclusion and value chain development.
The Minister also mentioned that there are still more opportunities to come, such as the production of Personal Protective equipment (PPEs), corporate wear and uniform for security officers. Manufacturers should look along those to sustain their businesses with different production lines.
In her closing remarks, Ms Agnes Matende, the owner of Aggys Dressmaker, thanked the Ministry for responding to their cry as uniform manufacturers by restricting the importation of school uniforms and for organising the workshop and exhibition.
She thanked the presenters for their informative deliberations. She urged fellow uniform manufacturers to go and work together to meet the local demand.
The one-day school uniform manufacturers workshop and exhibition were held yesterday under the theme “Industrialising Botswana: Renewed Commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation and Economic Diversification.”