Since government’s restriction on the importation of bottled water, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo says a number of milestones have been achieved.
The restriction, which was put in place last May, prohibits the importation of bottled water under 10litres.
The move hit an early snag and was followed by a massive shortage in local stores.
Shop owners claimed local producers were failing to meet demand as well as preferred quality.
However, local producers then went on the offensive and accused store operators of sabotage.
They claimed the operators preferred to buy water from outside the country at a lower price and make a killing this side.
Updating the media this week, Kenewendo said at the start of the restrictions, there were 22 water bottling companies – a number that has since risen to 41.
“Employment levels have also increased from 196 to 417,” revealed the Minister, adding investment level has also increased to more than P80 million from less than P40 million before the regulations were implemented.
“Some local producers have since diversified their product by producing flavoured water, increasing their investment by P7 million,” she continued.
Turning her attention to the restrictions on salt – in 2015, Government banned the importation of salt under 100kg – Kenewendo said the local salt packaging industry has since grown from P9.925 million to P21.94 million.
Dissecting the figures further, the youthful Minister announced the number of packaging companies has increased from 6 to 15 and employment levels from 56 to 90.
Meanwhile, Kenewendo revealed that the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) strategy is currently being revised after it was realised little had been achieved due to compliance issues, which she said stood at 51 percent.
She explained that the revised strategy would re-focus and close the gaps from the previous one.
The EDD was introduced in 2010 as a result of among others, high import bill, low industrial base and high unemployment levels.
However, nine years down the line, the strategy has achieved little, forcing government to take stock.
The strategy was meant to promote procurement of locally produced goods and services leveraging on government purchasing power.
“Despite this initiative, the necessary impact has not been felt in the economy due to slow uptake of locally produced goods and services,” noted Kenewendo.