BOTSWANA – The government, through the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), has developed a National Quality Policy (NQP) whose draft is to be tabled for debate and approval at the November sitting of Parliament.
The main aim of the policy is to ensure that Botswana has adequate and effective quality infrastructure, relevant legislation, and well-streamlined quality assurance efforts. This will significantly ensure international recognition of products produced in Botswana, as well as the organizations supporting them like BOBS and other regulators.
Speaking at the conference, BOBS acting Managing Director Botsile Kebapetse said the policy is going to guide in creating quality infrastructure, a technical regulatory framework and improve the quality of goods and services of Botswana to attain international recognition.
“The policy was done through a vigorous process, which was inclusive as we wanted to ensure everybody has a say. The policy that we are presenting was guided by the feedback,” he said.
Kebapetse said the policy seeks to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) compliance to standards and technical regulation as well as promote private sector participation.
It also aims at improving coordination and collaboration amongst agencies in regulatory and standards development.
“The policy intends to create coordination amongst the regulatory organs across government. Without it, the compliance required in the international arena would be compromised. We do have quality technical infrastructure in Botswana, we need to coordinate all these,” he said.
According to Kebapetse, the policy needs to comply with several international and regional agreements and protocols.
“Our technical regulations are based on the international standards just like any other members states. It is important that we all comply with these because we will be using the same standards,” he said.
In its bid to promote exports, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) recently concluded a study on manufacturing, which was done to identify key priority sub-sectors and value chain opportunities as well as constraints faced by the export-oriented SMMEs.
Presenting before the Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises, CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Thamane said the study has already been distributed to all permanent secretaries within the government enclave.
“We want SMMEs to be export-oriented, so through the study, we’ve identified key challenges that inhibit them from accessing other markets outside the country and one of the issues we established was the need to start the export development product at CEDA,” he said.
According to Thamane, the product will work in collaboration with the Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), as CEDA will be funding the companies that have been registered under BITC’s Export Development Programme.
For the past decades, high numbers of local SMMEs have failed in their first phase of operation, which is normally the first three to five years.