Poverty is a threat to national security – BOPEU

04th October 2017
Members of BOPEU. Source:The Midweek Sun


By Kemoreilwe Jimson - Reporter

Botswana Public Service Employee Union (BOPEU) says the government is sitting on a ticking-time bomb by failing to address poverty, inequality and unemployment. The union said this in their pre-budget paper tabled last week at an event organised by Finance and Development Planning ministry. The union said these three challenges could pose a serious national security threat to the country.

“The government should strive to explore alternative employment creation initiatives through the informal economy,” said the union adding that past efforts to create employment have not been very effective. The union believes that the informal sector has a potential for employment creation, income generation and economic growth because new trends show that the informal sector is not confined to people with low levels of education only, the educated with tertiary education certificates are also joining the informal sector.

“The government has to provide incentives for the growth of small and medium sized enterprises. Failure to harness on the potential of the informal sector can result in an inverse relationship of a growing informal sector alongside slow economic growth,” argues the union. They believe that in order to prioritize measures aimed at generating employment, there should be tax incentives for employment and investment, support for enterprise development, skills development and employment programmes.

Some of the recommendations raised in the paper by the union are to adopt a participatory and open budgetary process as opposed to an elite process. “It is desirable to have a citizen’s budget which is a product of communities, civil society organisations and all segments of the society. Openness of the national budget is also very important and encapsulates government’s responsibility to share all critical information with regard to the national resource base and associated revenue,” states the paper. “We recommend that going forward, the government must commit itself to targets and deliverables. The citizens and the workers deserve to know how many jobs and industries will be created in a financial year. This will ensure that as a country, our efforts at employment creation programmes are well targeted and easily measured.”

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