Botswana Trade Ministry restricts importation of school uniforms

Botswana: The Ministry of Trade and Industry wishes to inform the public that in its efforts to deliver on its mandate of creating wealth and employment for Batswana by attracting investors (both domestic and foreign) to establish industries in Botswana, it issued the Statutory Instrument No. 76 of 2021 under the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act [Cap.43:08], that was published on the August 24th 2021.

Botswana: The Ministry of Trade and Industry wishes to inform the public that in its efforts to deliver on its mandate of creating wealth and employment for Batswana by attracting investors (both domestic and foreign) to establish industries in Botswana, it issued the Statutory Instrument No. 76 of 2021 under the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act [Cap.43:08], that was published on the August 24th 2021.

This Statutory Instrument (SI) imposed restrictions on the importation of tunics, dresses, pinafores, shirts, skirts, pants, slacks, blouses, t-shirts, ties, scarf, hats, jerseys, and tracksuits for public or private pre-school, primary and secondary schools.

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On December 20th, 2022, PEP Botswana Holdings Limited (Pty) Ltd and Ackermans Botswana (Pty) Ltd brought an urgent court application seeking an order that they should be allowed to import uniforms on the same terms and conditions as those contained in their expired permits.

The Court decided in favour of the two companies by directing that they be issued with permits for the importation of school uniforms for the period between December 2022 and January 2023 only.

Subsequent to the Court’s decision, Government successfully launched an urgent application to suspend the court order, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

Effectively, this means that pending the hearing of the appeal, local manufacturers are at liberty to supply school uniforms. Currently, there are 238 companies (from small-scale to large-scale) operating in the country which produce school uniforms, and they have already started supplying retail stores.

Furthermore, collaborations are ongoing with a view to ensuring consistency in the supply of school uniforms across the country.

To that end, the Ministry has also engaged with associations representing manufacturers and retailers. Since August 24th 2021, the Ministry has been engaging with retailers and manufacturers through written communication and also on one-on-one meetings focused on helping them acclimatise to, and deliver on, the expectations of Statutory Instrument No. 76 under, under the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act [CAP. 43:08].

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It is imperative that, as a country, we must increase domestic consumption and confidence in locally produced products and eventually produce excess for the export markets.

Most importantly, to build Botswana’s economy through manufacturing, the restriction on the importation of school uniforms is a justified trade policy measure.