National Unemployment Policy underway- Masisi

Chedza Mmolawa

 The president of the country, Mokgweetsi Masisi highlighted that the rate of unemployment in the country is growing and is a cause for concern. He said this during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this past Monday in parliament.

The president said government has recognised the need to develop an overarching National Employment Policy (NEP) for Botswana with implementable solutions to address the unemployment problem facing the country.

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. 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 in March, 2019.

Masisi also touched on the struggles the youth is faced with concerning unemployment. He said one of his top priorities is to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people, who constitute the majority of our population.

“As you will be aware, Government annually allocates One Hundred and Twenty Million Pula (P120 million) to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) for the youth to set up businesses and create jobs for themselves and other youth. I have initiated a review of the Youth Development Fund to improve the success rate of youth projects and thus optimize job creation through the programme,” he said.

He added that among the proposed changes will be a focus on funding of youth cooperatives and consortia in identified sectors with potential for success. He said government has also decided to capacitate the YDF beneficiaries through

training in first-level project management as a pre-condition for being funded and there will be consideration for exemption in deserving cases. The proposed changes will be pronounced before the beginning of the next financial year.

The Botswana Gazette spoke to some unemployed youth who gave their opinion on the president’s statement. Varsity student, Opelo Maemo said unlike graduates before him he is hopeful that upon completing his degree he will have a

job readily available for him. “I am confident that Masisi will be a much better leader than former president Ian Khama and that indeed he will revive our economy, providing us with jobs,” he said.

However, unemployed Boipelo Segopotse said she is not going to get excited just as yet. She said she has been unemployed for over 6 years upon graduating from the University of Botswana. “I will believe what he is saying when i see change

taking place. We have been lied to before. The former president also promised us solutions to the unemployed, I am still unemployed. So I prefer not to count my chickens before they hatch,” she said.