Friday, February 23, 2024

Has the Govt failed to budget for the jobs?

Over the past decade every year the national budget asserted a clear and direct role in which government owned up to in creating jobs. The language however keeps changing each passing year. With unemployment rate now estimated at over 20 percent, SUNDAY STANDARD compiles a timeline which quotes the national budget with respect to the creation of employment.

2007: Government will continue to implement policies and projects designed to increase productive employment.

2008: Implementation of major planned private and public sector projects, such as the Mmamabula Energy Project, North-South Carrier II Pipeline Project, Morupule B Power Station Project, Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development Project, tourism development and the construction of major dams, will provide a platform for significant growth and additional employment creation during NDP 10.

2009: Government will promote the informal sector as another avenue to create additional jobs.

2010: In an effort to create temporary employment on a rotational basis and to enhance Batswana’s participation in economic development, Government introduced the Ipelegeng Programme in July 2008. This is a long term programme targeting people with no or limited sources of income.

2011: Government is particularly concerned with the issue of graduate employability, caused largely by a mismatch between what our education system provides and what the labour market requires. As a way of addressing this, institutions such as the University of Botswana are taking measures to diversify their academic programmes as well as develop programmes that will equip learners with the requisite skills.

2012: Let me reiterate the vision stated by His Excellency the President, in his State of the Nation Address in November 2011 that Government is committed to growing the economy and expanding job opportunities.

2013: Efforts will be continued to ensure that the economy generates job opportunities for those seeking employment by according priority to those projects with high job creation potential and ability to stimulate economic growth. Diversification of the tourism industry also provides opportunities for employment creation.

2014: The recent positive growth rates in some non-mining sectors are welcome developments as they reflect some success in our economic diversification efforts. Moreover, these non-mining sectors have greater potential for employment creation. Government will thus, continue to devise strategies to promote inclusive growth in the non-mining sectors of; Financial and Business Services, Construction, Agriculture, Tourism, and Manufacturing.

2015: The current unemployment rate of 19.8 percent therefore represents underutilisation of one of the country’s important resource, namely our human capital. This is a challenge for the country, especially that it affects the youth. It is for this reason that Government will continue to implement various programmes, projects and strategies geared towards assisting the youth and women to improve their livelihood.

2016: Government has resolved to, among others, use its spending power to boost economic growth and create jobs in the country. Therefore, in addition to seeking value-for-money in spending Government budget, efforts will be made to ensure that such expenditure, whether under recurrent or development budget, contributes to job creation in the country. Some of the economic activities with potential for creating employment opportunities, which Government will be undertaking during 2016/2017 include: infrastructure backlog eradication, road networks and maintenance, wildlife and tourism initiatives, continued implementation of EDD initiatives, creation of Special Economic Zones, as well as regulatory reforms and improving efficiency.

2017: With regard to employment creation, it is important to clarify that the principal role of the Government is not to create jobs directly, but to provide a conducive macroeconomic environment to facilitate the development of the private sector. The private sector, in turn, is expected to take advantage of such an environment to undertake investments, which would contribute to the growth of the economy and creation of sustainable employment opportunities.

2018: To align annual budget allocations with national priorities, the 2018/2019 financial year focuses on the broad strategic intervention areas of: promoting growth and economic diversification; investing in human capital for building an inclusive society; and maintaining a sustainable fiscal policy. Addressing these areas through the 2018/2019 Government budget is expected to contribute to improved domestic environment for private sector investment, resulting in economic growth and creation of employment opportunities.

2019: this budget is about job creation, as the Government continues to leverage on its purchasing power to stimulate the growth of the private sector, which, in turn, should create sustainable jobs. Of the total P67.5 billion expenditure planned for the 2019/2020 financial year, P22.4 billion, or one-third is for paying salaries and allowances for those employed in the public service, while the balance of P45.1 billion or 66 percent will be available for government procurement of goods and services from the private sector. This is a significant amount availed by government to spur growth of the economy, and create employment opportunities.



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