The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Mothusi Palai, this week urged Batswana to take productivity very seriously saying it can generate wealth and entice investors to come and invest in Botswana.
Officiating at the Labour Force Survey (LFS) Breakfast Seminar, Palai said that Batswana are not as productive as their competitors, and he cited South Africa as an example. He said it is individual responsibility to do their part. “It is high time we take the responsibility as Batswana and stop letting our gut down,” he said.
Though Botswana is regarded as the least corrupt country in Africa, Palai emphasized that corruption is on an increase. “The other challenge that we face in Botswana is that of skills-gap,” he stated. He said investors who are interested in investing in Botswana are usually hindered by the lack of skills. “We more often than not don’t have skills required by these investors,” he said.
Palai stated that Botswana is faced with challenges to formulate and monitor implementation of job creation policies and programs, challenges of increasing employment opportunities for women and youths. According to the 2005/2006 LRS, overall unemployment rate was 17.5 percent. Though showing that it has decreased as compared to the past 21.5 of the 1995/96 LRS, Palai pointed out that it is still on the high side. “Our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Vision 2016 targets are both to have zero unemployment rates by 2015 and 2016 respectively.” He said the government should encourage investment where employment can be generated.
According to Palai, the Government has formulated policies aimed at addressing issues of unemployment, including policies for both women and youth, which have been the most affected.
“Initiatives such as Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), Young Farmers Fund and Arable Land Development Programme (ALDEP), are geared towards creating employment opportunities,” he stated. He appealed to Batswana to continue to pursue the mix of good policies saying they would help them to move forward.
In her closing remarks, Deputy Government Statistician, Kerekang, said that employment creation must be a big priority. She said the government should continue identifying companies which can create employment. “Batswana should stop ignoring the informal sector and think strategically of policy of developing it. Formal sector cannot absorb everyone,” she said.
The other challenge that we face in Botswana is that of graduates unemployment, she stated. “If we fail to find a solution to the number of unemployed graduates, how are we going to deal with those who are still coming up?”