Wednesday, December 1, 2021

In Botswana, the big pay gap between citizens and expatriates remains

An analysis of household earning power by the government statistics agency, Statistics Botswana (SB) shows that immigrants in Botswana continue to make more money than the locals. 

The wage data shows that monthly average earnings for citizens stood at P5, 663, whilst that of non citizens was at P17, 438 as at the end of March 2017. The analysis also pegs the monthly average earnings for all employees during the same period at P6, 007. 

A further analysis of the data showed that monthly average cash earning for employees in formal sector grew by 1.5 percent between December 2016 and March 2017. The data indicate that minimum hourly rates in Thebe per hour from April 2009 to June 2016 for Private and Parastatal sectors increased by 43 percent from 380 thebe to 546 thebe.

Botswana’s salaries disparities first came to picture some ten years ago when a study commissioned by the then Ministry of Finance and Development Planning uncovered a pattern of bias in favour of foreigners in appointments to top management positions, salary payments and the award of government tenders.

The “Consultancy on the development of a comprehensive citizen economic empowerment strategy” by Tsa Badiri Consultancy, in collaboration with New Gx Capital of South Africa, turned up facts and figures showing that Botswana’s economic playing field is tilted against Batswana in favour of non citizens. Although the report states that through its procurement strategies, government has the capacity to influence as much as 80 percent of economic activity, an analysis of companies awarded tenders by government through the PPADB shows that citizen owned companies got only 17 percent of the P1, 085 billion worth of government business between 2004 an 2006.

At the time, a survey of local companies and corporations showed that 53 percent of the top level- General Manager, CEO Managing Director positions – are held by non-citizens. The study further turned up information that the average basic pay of expatriates holding top management positions is 82 percent higher than that of Batswana holding similar positions.

Meanwhile the SB formal sector survey for the first quarter of this year shows that formal employment decreased by 0.3 percent between March 2017 and December 2016 with Local Government recording the highest decrease of 0.6 percent, followed by Private and Central Government with 0.3 percent respectively. 

“The decrease in Private was mainly spurred by decline in employment in the Mining & Quarrying sector, which recorded decrease of 11.1 percent. The Parastatal Organisations recorded an increase in employment of 1.6 percent”, says Anna Majelantle, the state Chief Statistician.

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