BY PORTIA NKANI
Had President Mokgweetsi Masisi kept his promise on the National Employment Policy, Botswana could be counted amongst countries which take issues of job creation and employability serious. Now the opposite could be said following a broken promise by Masisi to deliver the document by March 2019.
In his augural state of the nation address presidential speech in November 2018, Masisi said, “To develop the NEP, Government obtained financial and technical support from the World Bank. The Draft National Employment Policy for Botswana is expected to be delivered by March, 2019. The draft policy document is now four months behind the Presidents’ schedule.
Thanks to former Minister of Labour Edwin Batshu who this week sought for an update from the government on the progress made about the NEP, the nation now knows that contents of the much anticipated policy can only be availed in September 2019.
The Ministry led by Kenneth Matambo is tasked with developing an overarching NEP for Botswana in order to address the high rate of unemployment in the country. The policy is expected to assist the country achieve productive, gainful and decent employment for all, as well as contribute to continue the reduction in income inequality and support Government’s poverty eradication efforts.
The goal of the NEP is to assist the country to achieve productive, gainful and decent employment for all, to contribute to the reduction of income inequality and as well as to support Government’s poverty eradication efforts.
Responding to Batshu’s inquiry who is also the Nkange legislator, Matambo indicated to parliament that the Finance ministry has been working on the policy with the assistance of outside consultancy especially the World Bank.
“The draft policy has since been produced and consultations have been taking place with stakeholders through workshops, which were held at first on the 21st of March this year and the next on the 25th of June this year,” he revealed.
The ministry is currently finalising these consultations on that document within Government, after which it will be submitted to Cabinet for approval, which Matambo said, “I am hoping that by September this year.”
Batshu condemned the delay and advised that perhaps the Finance Ministry could have alerted the public on the delay than to be waiting for something that is delayed and not delivered on time as stipulated in SONA. What is also puzzling is that, Matambo said he was not even aware of the timeline which was set by the President.
The failure to deliver on his promise to put up a National Employment Policy by March 2019, add the document to a number of other promises made in the past but not fulfilled.