Dear Peggy Serame
I know this sounds crazy but please indulge me on this..We will work out the details later.
Yesterday I broke bread with a few Artists and Creatives (I’ll tell the full story later). From our conversation Kaone Moremong, renowned Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur, opened my eyes to some really harsh realities in the fashion and textiles industry.
Her heart was breaking when she said to me “Kana Lesang, le uniform hela ya bana ba sekolo- grey hela le shirt e tshweu, malatsi a di tswa China. Rona tota re sweletse. Ke gore we can only survive by getting a few high profile individuals to make suits for...but remember in Botswana no one gets a suit made for anything close to even P5,000.00”.
Nyaa bagaetsho. We have a lot of work to do. It just can not be that all these young people who went to school and in some cases got given machinery by government are not able to make a decent living out of their talents and hard work. Everyday clothing and uniforms should be their speciality. I have a proposal:
1. Let’s close borders for white shirts and grey school trousers not to be imported. This will overnight create a market for our local people.
2. We then follow up to reduce duties on textiles into the country with the exception of finished goods or even exempt these from paying the 45% import duty.
3. Make it clear that parastatals and government will procure only from local designers/tailors and dress makers.
4. Make it mandatory for all chain stores to reserve a set percentage of shelf space for locally made clothes. If there is not enough capacity it is because the sector has been closed for our people- capacity will develop along the way.
5. Get the Competition Authority to ensure that the ‘big textile’ importers do not collude and hike prices as is often practice to shut Batswana out.
With the new possibilities the CEDA Guidelines bring, we should be promoting the Textile Industry to be revived in Botswana. THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO PROTECT OUR OWN PEOPLE AND NOT APOLOGISE ABOUT IT.
We can’t have a situation where Batswana get loans only to be closed out of the more lucrative markets and fail.
LETS CLOSE THE BORDER AND DEAL WITH THE DETAILS WITH THE BORDER CLOSED. Once we get this rolling, you will see the talents of our people. There is nothing we can’t do.
We have done it with Bottled Water (notice for textile industry to start can be in time for 2021) and are #PUSHINGBW with the Chicken Revolution.
BATSWANA WILL CREATE SUSTAINABLE JOBS FOR THEMSELVES AND OTHERS! When the year begins, ga gotwe “Back To School” we should be happy it means Batswana ba simolola ngwaga ba dira madi a bonalang.
LETS DO IT!! Ban white shirts and grey pants!