- They say 2017/18 budget has nothing to off er for the youth
- We are tired of the old sterile speech- Boko
Opposition youth leaders say they are disappointed with the 2017/18 budget speech as it has nothing to offer the youth.
According to the youth leaders, government has failed to outline strategies which they will use to create job opportunities for the youth or even ways they will explore to create a conducive environment for private sectors to absorb the youth.
Presenting the budget regarding creation of employment, Minister of Finance Kenneth Matambo briefly stated that it was not government’s principal role to create employment. “With regards to employment, creation, it is important to clarify that the principal role of government is not to create jobs directly, but to create a conducive macroeconomic environment to facilitate the development of the private sector,” he said, stating that the private sector in turn was expected to take advantage and undertake investments which would then contribute to growth of the economy and creation of sustainable employment opportunities.
Reached for comment, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) youth league Phenyo Segokgo said the budget had the same unfilled promises synonymous with the Khama regime. “There is only one year left to the elapse of this regime and one would have expected a change for once from it with regards to offerings for the youth,” he said.
“Looking back at the nine years of the Khama regime, there has not been any difference, instead unemployment rates increased over the years,” he said, stating that government ought not to deceive itself by saying unemployment has decreased when referring to Ipelegeng statistics as it represents underemployment. According to Segokgo, Matambo could have also given an update on the youth programmes and projects which have been established, “We should have been told what all these programmes have done for the youth,” he said.
As well as setting draconian laws that turn away investors, Segokgo said government missed an opportunity to win the hearts of the youth by outlining how they would create jobs in the coming six years of the NDP 11.
For his part, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Youth League leader Tumiso Rakgare said he was worried that government does not seem to have straight answers on how it will address unemployment. “A sensible government should have a way of how they would create job opportunities for the youth,” he said, giving the example of other developing countries which he said also create a conducive environment for the private sector to absorb the youth as well as easy access of services like power and water: “This government has failed to do all these because of corruption,” he said.
Rakgare said that as the BCP, they have proposed that there be tax incentives for companies that employ youth “and this is how you develop a country.”
He said that President Khama seems to have forgotten the promises he made to voters during his campaigns for the 2014 general elections: “His number one priority in that card was job creation. Where are the jobs now?” Rakgare asked.
For his part, Botswana Democratic Party Youth Wing Chairperson Andy Boatile offered a different view saying the youth bulge cuts across board thus included in ministerial budgets. He concurred with Matambo’s view that it is not the responsibility of government to create jobs: “As far as I am concerned, this speech had something for the young person.”
He said, as BDP Youth Wing, they advocate for the review in the design of the school curriculum to match market needs as well as changing the mindset of people who are used to thinking that they can only be hired by government or the private sector upon completing school.
Efforts to solicit a comment from Botswana National Front Youth League were futile as the Treasure General was unreachable on the phone.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Duma Boko said they were tired of the same speech each year. “We are tired of the old sterile speech. We want something new, something vibrant that can reignite the faith and confidence of the country as well as grow the economy,” he said also saying the minister did not address job creation for the youth. “All that was said, was that government does not directly create jobs but creates environment, of which we need to know if it’s in place and how many jobs will be created by that environment, that is their obligation.”
According to Boko, it is such critical information which ought to have been presented. “The youth are only waiting for a simple answer of where the jobs are.”
“We are afraid that they will come here and demand answers carrying placards so we must spend money and beef up security- What kind of government does this? This government is strange,” he explained, warning that government was sitting on the ticking time bomb of the unemployed youth bulge.
“This speech was sluggish and if I was to give it a theme, I would title it “Towards impoverishing” because its main aim is just to review the taxes since they failed on diversification,” UDC MP Noah Salakae said.
“Slowly we are building a case that will give Botswana a reason to revolt because most Batswana are reasonably literate. They can see that the future is bleak,” he said, adding that the high unemployment rate will bring the quick death of BDP. “I think president Khama has thrown in the towel, all that is left for him is to cause chaos before he leaves,” Salakae said.