Matambo’s budget should be more than just a speech

It could so easily have been just another damp budgetary squib for us mere mortals, the word Minimum Wage does not appear anywhere in the 25 page long budget speech.
Minister of Finance Kenneth Matambo’s budget allocations should be more than just a mere paramount speech, they should provide implementable solutions to protect the population from abject poverty and most importantly unemployment and systematical economic abuse of those at the bottom of the food chain.
The minister says that “this environment is characterised by low debt level, stable inflation, and high gross national savings as a percentage of GDP. Through prudent management of resources, Government continues to ensure that the bulk of the mineral revenue is invested in human and physical capital, while the balance is saved for future generations. Creating such a conducive environment for development is a deliberate effort by this Government to promote development of the private sector, which should be the source of economic growth and creation of employment opportunities, especially for the youth.”
This rhetoric sounds very familiar. In as much as it envisages focus on developing the private sector, it still lacks the boldness to demonstrate how government is going to implement that and the key areas. As a state we need to emphasize government’s role in creation of a fertile business environment as opposed to government, via its political instruments, handing out jobs in a charitable fashion. The ability of any government to reduce the burden of creating employment lies within its tenacity to help grow the private sector in a competitive and open manner. The national housing project under the Office of the President exists to curb homelessness but in a progressive world governments try to make sure that businesses are able to thrive independently and employ people who would in turn build their own houses and wealth out of poverty.
Our system in all essence is the breeding ground for corruption and politicization of public institutions which in any event disadvantages the poor and unemployed.
The vacillating emphasis between private sector and the youth is as welcome as it was yesterday, but disappointingly youth unemployment continues to skyrocket. Every Motswana aspires for an opportunity to graduate into market full of growth opportunities. For the past decade the government has been at pains to figure out key areas that will employ more youth. Instead there have been numerous mine closures and massive retrenchments because the economy seems to have reached its elasticity. But in his new budget speech, Matambo delivers with a smile phrases like low debt level, stable inflation, and high gross national savings and to a learned mind this implies hope- that the ship has not sunk yet.
The ordinary Motswana cares about opportunities that will catapult him from poverty and debt. Yes, it is about their wallet. This is where most find a lot to be desired in the speech when Matambo omits to mention how the tourism sector which is currently monopolized by foreign investors will be handed back to Batswana in a systemic and profitable fashion. It is one of the most profitable and fast growing industries that have the least stringent entry requirements.
After this whole fancy speech affair, the failure to implement and diversify these alternatives by government significantly impacts the voters wallet back at home and the picture is not a fancy one at the moment.