For employers who may be understandably apprehensive about cooperating with Statistics Botswana surveys that require precise details about how much they pay their employees, it would come as a huge relief to learn that data collected is not shared with labour inspectors.
“In all interactions with managers and owners of establishments, Statistics Botswana emphasizes that the organization collects formal sector employment data to enable government and other stakeholders to formulate policies, plan and make decisions on employment, wages and related matters. The resultant report that is produced is aggregated, and does not show information by individual establishment,” says Lillian Setimela, SB’s Manager for Communication, Documentation and Dissemination.
Perhaps most importantly for some, the information collected is not shared with third parties.
“The organization explains that it upholds high levels of confidentiality, a key standard for a national statistical office, and assures its stakeholders to provide information openly as their information would not be divulged to third parties, but would rather be used to develop the country,” Setimela says.
During this month, SB is collecting formal sector employment data from central and local government, parastatal organizations and the private sector across the country. This data is collected on a quarterly basis and the results of this data collection exercise will be used to produce a formal sector statistics report “which will give amongst other indicators, the country’s official estimates of formal sector employment, monthly average cash earnings, and minimum hourly wage rates.” According to Setimela, formal sector employment statistics are required by the government and other stakeholders to formulate policies, plan and make decisions on employment and wages in the country.
This exercise is conducted by way of administering a questionnaire among the target groups and making follow-up telephone calls and visits.
“Where respondents are unable to self-administer the questionnaire, SB officers conduct interviews,” says Setimela, adding that follow-ups are already taking place to ensure that “we catch the private sector before they shut down for the festive season.”
She expresses satisfaction that on the whole, members of the public cooperate with SB officers and attributes this to engaging with authorities at district and community level before big surveys and censuses to help mobilize the community.
The current survey happens against the backdrop of the much-talked economic stimulus package (ESP) which is meant to breathe life into the economy. With the results of the current survey coming out in February, the impact (if any) of the initial phase of the ESP will be reflected in subsequent surveys.
SB also collects informal sector employment data every 10 years. The last such survey was in 2007.