BEMA worried that local market does not manufacture surgical masks and ventilators





The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with Botswana Exporters and Manufacturers Association are identifying companies to assist in upscaling their production. “GIZ CESARE has shown interest in supporting companies in the SADC region that produce relevant medical equipment such as sanitisers, gloves, gowns, masks, oxygen flasks and ventilators to increase the local production with the hope that this will help address the worldwide shortage of said medical supplies and facilitate access for the SADC region,” said BEMA Chief Executive Officer, Mmantlha Sankoloba.


BEMA has submitted over 40 local manufacturing companies, mostly SMMEs to GIZ for consideration. “But it has been noted that we do not have companies that locally produce surgical masks and ventilators,” said Sankoloba, whose association is faced with a mammoth task of ensuring businesses survive and grow during and post the pandemic. 


She said the Association is lobbying government to have holistic consultations with the private sector before strategies are implemented at national level. “It is time to take a different approach, there is no other alternative but to have both the public and private sector coalesce and synergise their efforts to ensure the sector does not suffer a decline,” said Sankoloba.


She said the sector has been faced with numerous issues, even before the pandemic, however, over the past weeks there has been a record on new cases arising from the effects of the COVID-19. For example, manufacturers have recorded a decline in turnover and revenue due to increase in expenditure, according to Sankoloba. 


“At this juncture it is important for both the private (all sectors represented) and public sector to work together, establish common ground and come up with sound solutions. It is important to consider offering much-needed support to businesses that will be largely affected by the pandemic, either from a financing perspective or ease of operations through provision of incentives that will ensure adequate working capital availability,” said Sankoloba. She emphasised that it is lucrative to ensure the survival of manufacturing entities, as they have created job opportunities.