Botswana textile industry’s troubles are worsening with more companies collapsing, while thousands of jobs go down the drain, Botswana Guardian has established.This year alone over 500 employees have already been retrenched, while more are likely to follow. Troubles started with the world recession of 2008, which culminated in some manufacturers shutting down.
The textile and clothing industry employed over 10 000 people in 2005, however the workers were trimmed to 7 688 in 2007, and a further 1 460 by December 2009 after Caratex, Carafashions and Trubok closed shop leaving 6 228 employees jobless. On 23 December 2009 government approved a P38 million bailout to improve the competitiveness of the textile sector and retain jobs.
The industry stopped retrenchments for a while until the bailout ended in 2011. Since then, the troubles have come back to haunt the industry, threatening once again, to shut it down. The industry has however applied for another bailout scheme from government, which cabinet is still to approve. Chairperson of Botswana Textile and Apparel Sub Sector (BTASS), Fazul Zahir makes a case for the apparel industry.
“We have asked for another bailout scheme, but it is still under consideration,” Zahir said. Zahir, who also is Chief Executive (CEO) for Premier Clothing said the BTASS has completed a ‘High Level Strategy for Textile and Apparel Industry’, a document he said, contains strategic solutions of upgrading the industry and keeping it sustainable for the next five years.
“With this one, we are confident that if a bailout can be approved, the industry can produce impressive results,” he said. Zahir said if nothing is done the industry might collapse. It remains to be seen if the bailout will succeed because in his recent state of the nation address President Ian Khama did not mention whether or not the textile sector would get another reprieve.