Motlaleng urges Botswana to implement IMF labour recommendations
by Ngonidzashe Dzimiri
The slight improvement in the country's global competitiveness requires a holistic approach in order to redeem the country's position to acceptable levels, said Gaotlhobogwe Motlaleng, a macroeconomics lecturer at the University of Botswana.
Motlaleng said with today’s economic competitiveness, Botswana’s performance is not good enough.
This year's GCR rankings from the World Economic Forum (WEF) reveal that Botswana improved her quality score from 4.0 to 4.1, placing the country at position 79 out of 144 countries.
For some time, Botswana has been battling to improve its rankings in global competitiveness. For the last three years, Botswana has experienced a back-to-back nosedive in its global rankings.
The top four factors identified as the most problematic factors for doing business in the country remained poor work ethic in the national labour force, access to finance, inadequately educated workforce and inefficient government bureaucracy.
“These bottlenecks need to be reduced if Botswana is to improve its competitiveness,” he said.
Motlaleng said Botswana immigration system contributes immensely to poor rankings.
“Botswana labour must play an active role in ensuring that those who are willing to set up businesses here will not be disappointed by complacency and inadequate application to work that is associated with our labour force,” he said.
GCR indicates that Botswana's competitiveness has been eroded mainly due to poor work ethics. For the fifth consecutive year, poor work ethic in national labour force is regarded as the most problematic factor for doing business in the country.
Motlaleng said the work ethics quality has not been good hence the need to look for ways of doing things better. He attributed the poor work ethic to Botswana Diamond resource economy.
He urged the government to take seriously the IMF report on Botswana labour force and implement the recommendations. IMF urged Botswana to cut its wage bill of about P12 billion a year, which is too high for the country’s two million people.
“Government must take bolder measures to cut its public wage bill at the rate that was recommended,” he said. The heavy wage bill is a serious issue that needs to be addressed to improve the country’s competitiveness.
Motlaleng said due to the small population size, it is very difficult to do business here.
“We will have to live with unemployment for the next five or more years,” he said.
He said the private sector needs to play a more defining role in raising Botswana's competitiveness profile and help make it easier to do business in the country.
“The impediment faced by private sector is that minerals are owned by government and it is difficult to diversify the minerals from government,” said Motlaleng.
Mining contributes 30 percent towards economic growth and only employs 5 percent of the population.