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A shortage of skill

LACK OF SKILLED LABOUR A MAJOR HURDLE TO DOING BUSINESS

A lack of skilled labour is viewed as a major obstacle to doing business locally, a study by the central bank has found.

Bank of Botswana’s quarterly Business Expectation Survey (BES) report revealed that businesses regard thisshortage as the greatest challenge they face.

The problem is reportedly most severe in sectors such as construction, trade, hotels, transport and communications,with companies in these industries facing difficulties in recruiting foreign skilled labour.

The second significant challenge cited by the respondents in the survey is shortage of raw materials, which is especially relevant in the manufacturing sector.

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In addition, a number of businesses, in particular domestic market-oriented ones, cited difficulty in accessing financing from abroad as one of the biggest obstacles to their business operations in the third quarter of 2019.

Although the country is heading to general elections this month, political climate, along with domestic demand and the current framework are viewed as the most supportive factors to doing business in Botswana.

Another feature that contributes positively to doing business locally is the water and electricity sub-sectors – a notableimprovement from recent years.

Efforts to advance these sub-sectors, through projects such as the implementation of the North South Carrier (NSC) II water project and the North West Transmission Grid electricity connection, are expected to further boost business confidence.

Meanwhile, companies have expressed reservation concerning business activity in the third quarter of 2019.

The results of the survey, suggest that businesses expect a decrease in exports of goods and services, profits and investment in buildings, plant and machinery’ vehicles and equipment.

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Firms also predict cost pressure will rise in the final quarter of the year, which is a reflection of the anticipated upward pressure on costs of materials, wages and transport.

Furthermore, businesses are also reported to be less optimistic concerning economic performance in 2019, predicting an output growth of 3.5 percent, which is less than the 2019 Budget Speech projection of 4.2 percent.

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