Business Owners Decry Challenges

Masunga – Members of the business community in the North East District have raised concern over the bottle-necks they face in their efforts to either start or grow their businesses.

During a one-day workshop hosted by the North East District Council (NEDC) in Masunga recently, some business owners lamented what they termed an unfavourable business environment.

Commenting, Ms Kushatha Mosienyane said it appeared that the government had made the business environment more favourable to the youth as more initiatives have been put in place to make it easier for youth-owned businesses to thrive.

She called on the government to extend the same gesture to other marginalised groups such as women and people living with disability as they also needed assurance.

On another issue, Ms Mosienyane expressed concern over government officers who do not give business owners a list of documents required when they source quotations from them.

This, she said, deprived the business owners, in particular those running small businesses, the opportunity to be conversant with the proper procedures to be followed as well as the knowledge of the documents required when doing business with government.

For his part, another business person, Mr Dintle Morakanyane said obtaining the relevant trade licenses was a cumbersome process that entailed many requirements that were not easy for budding small business people to meet.

He said the complexity of the processes and requirements carried the potential to derail one’s plans to go into business.

Mr Morakanyane appealed to the government to consider relaxing the process of obtaining licenses so that Batswana desiring to establish businesses could do so without any impediment.

On a different matter, Mr Morakanyane decried what he called a meager share of the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) projects that had been earmarked for the North East District.

He said in comparison with other districts, the North East had been allocated fewer and smaller-scale projects.

An official of the NEDC, Mr Kabelo Gulubane had earlier during his presentation of the ESP informed residents that several projects would be implemented through the programme in the district. He gave as examples the construction of the Tshesebe/Masunga road, the upgrading of some health posts to clinic status, the construction of staff houses for different ministries as well as the continuation of the backlog eradication programme in primary schools.

Mr Gulubane, however, condemned the tendency by some business people to hike prices whenever they did business with the government, saying the practice negatively affected the efforts by government to serve the nation.

He advised those in business to desist from the practice and to ensure that they priced their goods and services reasonably.

A bye-law officer from the council, Mr Gaborone Manga expressed concern over the incidences of fronting by some members of the business community.

He also raised concern over some businesses which trade using expired licenses.

Appealing to the business community to adhere strictly to the set-out requirements necessary for doing business, he also implored beneficiaries of government programmes and initiatives to note that they were not immune from abiding by the laid down processes and procedures.

He advised them to seek help with relevant licensing authorities without delay once they have been assisted to set up their businesses.

SOURCE: Daily News