Breaking down the trade and industrial bills

The recently amended Trade Bill includes some notable changes, foremost amongst them slashing the number of industries in which businesses require licences from 46 to 11.

The Director in the Department of Trade and Consumer Affairs, Seipato Olweny explained that enterprises which do not have health and safety concerns only require registering.

“With the coming changes, registration and licensing will be done over the counter such that one will receive their registration certificate or licence immediately,” Olweny told the media this week.

She noted that when it comes to businesses that can be operated from homes, the act will target those who are under the manufacturing sector based on the Small, Macro and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMME) guideline.

“If you want to operate outside these 46 licenses, one will have to apply for an exception. What is going to happen is that this will now open for more businesses as we have not prescribed any line of trade,” said the Director, adding that business owners will have to register their businesses with CIPA before they start trading.

However, Olweny stressed this does not mean that laws will be disregarded.

She explained that within a period of 30 days after registering their businesses, they will have to notify local authorities for monitoring purposes and businesses will still have to comply with tax laws.

“It should be noted that the licenses will still be issued at a later stage,” she added.

Meanwhile, another recently passed bill, the Industrial Bill will provide for the regulation of manufacturing enterprises through licencing, registration and supervision to facilitate industrial development.

Explaining how the changes brought by the bill will have an impact, Director in the Department of Industrial Affairs, Obusitswe Tiroesele said it would speed up the process of starting a business.

“It was 48 days and now we want to move to a maximum of seven days. Just like the Trade Bill, under the Industrial Bill only businesses that have health concerns will have to be issued with licences – all others that do not have health and safety concerns will not require licences to start operating,” he clarified.

Tiroesele noted that in the past for one to get a licence, they would have to go through a licencing committee.

The bill has scrapped this; businesses that fall under this exception include printing and sewing businesses among others.

For her part, The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has said the two bills seek to simplify the licencing procedures and improve efficiency in the issuance of business licences.

Ultimately, these measure should improve the ease of doing business in Botswana.

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