As the country reels from high unemployment rate that has left many people mired in despair and anger, President Ian Khama has turned up the heat on the Private Sector, asking the industry to create jobs.
Following a recent announcement by Khama at a public service employees meeting in the Thamaga/Kumakwane constituency that government is constrained to create new vacancies, some job seekers reacted angrily accusing the President of backtracking on the promises he made prior to the 2014 general elections.
The promises relate to a letter entitled “Have your received my letter?” that was written by Khama in the build up to the 2014 general elections. In the letter, President Khama informed Batswana that the most urgent promise was to tackle unemployment.
“I’m impatient to do for our citizens who cannot find work, especially our talented youth…” Khama said.
Asked if the President has failed to deliver or climbed down on the ‘urgent promise’ he had made, President Khama’s Press Secretary Gobe Pitso said that employment creation remains a priority for Khama and the government.
“What His Excellency has been consistently saying is that the Government should facilitate the Private Sector so that they in turn would take the lead to drive economic growth, as well as diversification and consequently employment creation,” said Pitso.
He added that “To this end, efforts towards this realization are of course being pursued, as evidenced by the policies and programmes that have been put in place.”
In his letter Khama had also stated that “…I’m pained when I meet Batswana who are unable to provide for their families. We must do more when re-elected, I will personally take responsibility for this issue, by prioritizing job creation. Aggressive action is needed, and that is what we will do.”
Asked what could have necessitated President Khama’s announcement that government was constrained to create new posts, Gobe explained that a question had been raised from the floor by the Ministry of Health indicating that they were understaffed.
Gobe further explained that in his response, the President informed the concerned officers that records show that the Ministry of Health has a lot of vacancies.
“What is crucial and needs to be done, is for the Ministry to comprehensively rationalise posts and prioritise those areas where there is critical requirement in this regard,” said Gobe.
A youthful group of jobseekers were recently whipped by the police after they had gathered outside Parliament petitioning the government to create jobs.
Reports also indicate that Botswana employment figures are expected to rise as a number of organisations and companies continue to retrench workers. Recently the Botswana Telecommunication Limited (BTCL) retrenched a considerable number of employees while more 60 employees lost their jobs.