Pressure for Unemployment Benefits reaches Parliament

  • Keorapetse wants govt to consider monthly stipend for the unemployed
  • Blames unemployment for high crime rates
  • Says the P600m wasted through corruption could be used


The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) pressure on the government to introduce unemployment benefits has reached Parliament and the Leader of the Opposition (LOO), Dithapelo Keorapetse, is expected to table the motion “soon”.

Keorapetse’s motion will call on the government to have a monthly stipend for the unemployed Batswana and comes a few months after the UDC petitioned the government for the same purpose.

“There is a need to cushion the unemployed through a monthly stipend because unemployment is responsible for high crime rates, drug and alcohol abuse and prostitution,” he said in an interview.

“We have more than 322 000 people who are neither employed nor in education or any form of training. Some unemployed people are young women with children.”

Keorapetse added that if Botswana wastes more than P5 billion or 37 percent of the development budget annually and has the potential to collect P50 billion more in taxes, it can afford to cushion the unemployed.

“P600 million is wasted through corruption and it is the money that we can use to help the unemployed,” Keorapetse emphasised.

Early this year, suspended head of the DCEC, Tymon Katlholo, told the Parliamentary Public Account Committee (PAC) that the government loses an estimated P600 million through corrupt practices, with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and that of Transport and Public works leading.

Regarding criteria to determine beneficiaries, Keorapetse said Botswana could use some of the funds providing unemployment benefits as a benchmark. “It is not a far-fetched idea because it is practised elsewhere,” he pointed out.

“The current destitute programme is not helping the unemployed because the qualification criteria are too high. Further, as people move between jobs, they should be assisted through insurance for the period they are unemployed and transitioning to other jobs. This is practiced by even some countries in the region.”

Some of the countries that offer unemployment benefits are Switzerland, Germany, France, Bulgaria and Belgium.