Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The big pay gap between citizens and expatriates remains

By Victor Baatweng

A formal employment survey carried by the national statistics agency ÔÇô Statistics Botswana (SB) has once again painted a gloomy picture about Botswana when it comes to payment of its own people.

The survey shows that immigrants in Botswana, remains kings and queens as they continue to make more money than the locals.

The March 2018 wage data collected by Statistics Botswana shows that while foreigners’ smiles all the way to the banks for a monthly average pay of P17 830, their local counterparts earn an average of P5 784 per month.

A comparison of the March 2018 wages data to the carried in the December 2017 survey shows that there has been a decrease of 0.1 percent in monthly average earnings for all employees. (December 2017: P6, 216, March 2018 P6, 211).

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 March 2018 survey shows that formal overall employment in Botswana increased by 0.1 percent (363 persons) from 410, 329 persons in December 2017 to 410,692 persons in March 2018. A further sub-division of the data shows that the Private and Parastatal recorded the highest increase in employment of 0.2 percent each, followed by Central Government with 0.1 percent increase in employment. Local Government recorded a decrease in employment of 0.2 percent. Still by March 2018, a total of 11,582 (2.8 percent) employees were non-citizens with a out of this total – Private and Parastatal sectors accounting for 10,510 employees while Construction industry was the major employer of non-citizens (23.0 percent), followed by Education industry (16.4 percent) and Manufacturing industry (15.7 percent).

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