The Telegragh Reporter ÔÇô VICTOR BAATWENG recaps the 2019/20 national budget as read by Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo and the responses of the leader of opposition in Parliament ÔÇô Duma Boko as well as that of the leader of Minority ÔÇô Ndaba Gaolatlhe.
MATAMBO ÔÇô “Government aims to facilitate employment, provide industry-focused skills, and promote workplace health and safety, as well as productivity and work ethic in the economy and also manage industrial relations in an inclusive manner. The labour laws are currently being reviewed to ensure compliance to the ratified International Labour Organisation Conventions”.
BOKO ÔÇô “When I told people that hemp could contribute significantly to job creation, I got ridiculed. Canada is receiving multi-billion dollar investments in hemp that it will in part export to the US. The industrialised world is taking advantage of the possibilities presented by hemp. Even our neighbours within SADC see the opportunities presented by hemp and are at least taking regulatory steps to prepare themselves. We will move our economy up our value chains and get back our jobs. We will engage investors here and outside the country to join us in developing our country”.
GAOLATLHE: “We needs to invest even in those who were not able to succeed in the academic mainstream. We need to open up opportunities for the forgotten trades ÔÇô tellers in shops, domestic workers, security guards, those who till the gardens, hawkers, those who transport us in the mornings and those who may be at home ÔÇô significant resources to have them retooled, trained to pursue and excel in new trades that offer them better paying prospects as we begin to upgrade the economy”
MINIMU WAGE vs. LIVING WAGE
MATAMBO ÔÇô (Editor’s note: There was no mention of either living or minimum wage in Matambo’s 2019/20 budget speech. Botswana’s trade labour laws however currently favours minimum wage which is revised on annual basis. The government has turned a blind eye on calls for living wage as compared to minimum wage.
BOKO ÔÇô “If the managers of our economy paid sufficient attention to the micro economy, the old age pension would have taught them something about the power of spending. Quite apart from putting disposable income at the command of our senior citizens, the old age pension, as modest as it is, injects appreciable spending into local economies. The post offices at which our old folk collect their pensions are centres of economic activity on pensioners’ paydays. They have impact not only on household welfare but also on the local economy. That is the reason a UDC government will raise the old age pension to P1500 per month and raise the minimum wage to a living wage of P 3000 a month
GAOLATLHE ÔÇô “On minimum and living wages, I quote from the Progressives policy address in January, that “The law of minimum wages that are decent, although necessary, can never give our people, as a well structured booming economy would, sustainable high paying jobs which is one of the ultimate ambitions of the new Botswana. Of course we will set minimum wages, but standards will be structured based on informed analysis of what our economy can genuinely sustain without economic ruin.”