Saturday, September 26, 2020

Dear Mr. President, the world is indeed fluid but we do need to set ambitious targets

This past Monday, our President Mokgweetsi Masisi kept his promise of frequent interaction with members of the fourth estate by hosting his second press conference as head of state. This is commendable given the drought that we have been in for the past ten or so years. We salute his Excellency for keeping his word and opening up to the press.

Dear reader is was at this second press conference where a journalist by the name Victor Baatweng wanted to know from his Excellency whether his government believes in setting targets. If his Excellency’s answer was to be YES, the journalist wanted to know the target and time frames of those targets with relation to job creation and land allocation in this country. The President’s response was however NO, in his words, “The world is too fluid and dynamic to do that. No one in the world has been able to set jobs targets and achieve them, they either created too many or below their target”.

We ought to state from the beginning that this is indeed a disappointing response from a President of a country that is facing high levels of unemployment precisely affecting its larger section of population ÔÇô the youth.

Unemployment in a population of only two million, the harshest brunt of which is borne by the youth, continues to be on the rise. On the other side, the level of economic inequalities continues to grow. Batswana remain moneyless, jobless and landless. This is did not happen because we exist in “dynamic and fluid” world but because we have been failing to set specific targets when it comes to wealth creation for our people.

Much as the President is right when he said we live in a dynamic world, we surely cannot afford to operate without specific targets. Our past failures, such as the failure to diversify the economy should by now have taught us a lesson of why setting not just targets, but ambitious ones is of paramount importance. Notwithstanding implementation of a succession of policies for economic diversification over the years, the domestic economy remains heavily dependent on the mining sector, particularly diamond mining. This has surely resulted in the few jobs that are now available for Batswana. Surely we cannot continue using the economic strategy. We need to change tactic if we are to win this one. This new tactic that we need to put in place starts with setting ambitious targets for ourselves. Surely it is not the sole responsibility of the government to create jobs, but given our unique economical structure, the government does have a bigger role to play in job creation. We strongly believe that for monitoring and evaluation of any government policy to be successful, there is need to have set targets. Otherwise what is it that we will be measuring success against? Another paramount reason why Dear President should publicly make his job creation targets is to allow the citizens to be able to gauge his performance and hold him and his government accountable. The #Bottomline is that unless Dear leader do not want to account, then he should sets jobs target. It’s vital.

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