The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has announced reduced restrictions to movement to facilitate businesses to reopen the economy as Botswana enters the second phase of extreme social distancing.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Keganele Malikongwa on Saturday announced the list of the businesses that will be permitted to reopen for trade starting 8th– 14th May second phase. Some of the businesses that she said have been licensed to resurrect economic activity include shops selling baby clothes, phone shops, car washes and informal sector to mention but a few.
“The ministry issues licenses to over 300 000 businesses and only 25% of the businesses will be allowed to operate in the eased lockdown phase 2. The businesses are expected to adhere to the stipulated health regulations,” PS Malikongwa emphasized while briefing media yesterday.
She insisted that informal sector will be helped P 10 million through Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) to disburse the funds to the informal sector to use for recovery.
The informal sector businesses that will be permitted to operate include street hawkers who sell airtime, food amongst others noting that salons are exempted because of its high risks.
Malikongwa noted that alcohol and liquor industry remain closed until further notice but said government has still no plan on how to assist bar owners whom their liquor stock is expiring.
Also, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Transport and Communications Alicia Mokone also said public transport in the form of taxis, buses and combis are liable to restarting operations.
Mokone noted that public transport operators are expected to adhere to health protocols such as keeping registration of passengers, sanitizing and carrying only 70% stipulated capacity too.
She said drivers and commuters who flout the rules will be subjected to fines stipulated with transport licensed to operate will be only allowed to work within the 60 Kilometer radius now.
Dr Wilfred Mandlebe PS for Ministry of Finance and Economic Development noted that an economic stimulus package will be established to revamp economy post COVID-19 period.
He added that financial sector will be scaling up from 1 000 to 2 000 workers to ensure that clients that are opening during phase two are assisted urging the businesses to also comply.
“ Any business that is on position to reopen in the financial sector is expected to apply for a permit and if it is small company 50% of its staff can be allowed to go to work,” he averred.
Moreover, PS of Finance Ministry asserted that coronavirus impacted negatively on the local economy as it disrupted ways of collecting tax but said tax increment isn’t considered for now.