New Trade and Industrial Development Acts come into effect
Following the review of both the Trade Act of 2003 and the Industrial Development Act of 2006, this week government began the implementation of the new versions of both Acts.
The review of the two Acts, passed by parliament last August, aims to reduce the time it takes to start a business.
According to the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Peggy Serame, ultimately the aim is to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
The review of the two Acts also seeks to shorten the licencing procedures and improve efficiency in the issuance of trade and industrial licences and registration certificates.
The Trade Minister announced that Licencing Committees are now history, as issuance of both licences and registration certificates will be done over the counter.
One of the key changes brought by the new acts is that pre-inspections of premises of trades that do not pose a threat to the public’s health and safety have now been abolished.
When it comes to the Trade Act and its regulations, there are 45 trade licences under the Trade Act of 2019 which have been divided into two categories.
The Minister has noted that trade activities with immediate health and safety concerns require licencing and thus inspections of business premises which include environmental health and zoning should be conducted before operations could begin.
The 10 trading activities which will require licencing include: fresh produce, take away, funeral parlour, restaurant, hair and beauty parlour, cosmetic shop, agriculture shop, optician, pharmacy and gymnasium.
Meanwhile, licencing of petrol stations has been transferred to Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA).
The remaining 35 trading activities which do not pose health and safety concerns will be registered by the Director Trade and businesses are allowed to start operations without inspection of business premises. However, they are required to notify local authorities within a period of 30 days of starting their businesses.
Such businesses include: general dealer, general clothing, cell phone shop, hardware, household shop, furniture shop, supermarket and distributor among others.
The new Industrial Act regulations require that industrial activities with immediate health and safety concerns such as animal feed, baby formula, food, beverages, cement and chemical products be licenced.
Under the Industrial Act, no person will be allowed to operate a manufacturing enterprise, unless the enterprise has been registered and the person issued with a registration certificate.
According to Serame, due to their peculiarity of undergoing processing and changing form, it is vital to first assess the application before registration or licencing.
She stressed this is necessary in order to eliminate any possible safety, environmental and health concerns.