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Botswana records over 200 000 job seekers

About 200 000 Batswana are actively seeking employment while 68 000 have given up on getting a job.  This is according to Statistics Botswana, who this week released results of a first of its kind Quarterly Multi-Topic Survey on Labour Force.  

Conducted in the third quarter of 2019 the findings of the survey were gauged against 2015/16 Botswana Multi-Topic Household Survey (BMTHS). The QMTS has revealed that Labour force increased 12.4 percent between 2015/16 and the third quarter of 2019. This was accompanied by increases of 8.1 percent and 32.5 percent of the employed and unemployed labour force, respectively. This resulted in a 3.3 percentage increase in the employment to population ratio over the period, from 47.4 percent in 2015/16 to 50.7 percent in quarter three of 2019.

Key to these findings is the country’s Unemployment rate which has gone up by 3.1 percentage points between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent. The youth labour force increased by 12.7 percent, from 427, 089 in 2015/16 to 481, 441 in the third quarter of 2019. This was accompanied by an increase of 1.6 percentage points increase in youth unemployment rate, from 25.1 to 26.7 percent. The Youth not in Education, not in Employment or Training (NEET Rate %) decreased from 39.9 to 35.2 percent between the two periods.

Deliberating on the study, Statistics Botswana Manager on Labour and Poverty, Moffat Malepa explained that his organization conducted the Quarterly Multi-Topic Survey (QMTS), beginning July 2019. The QMTS was the second multi modular survey following the Botswana Multi-Topic Household Survey (BMTHS), which was conducted in 2015/16. Broadly, the QMTS combined the Labour Force, Information Communication Technology and Core Welfare Indicators surveys.

The aim of QMTS is to produce quarterly estimates on Labour Force Indicators and other key policy variables, which will be rotated based on the stakeholder needs and national priorities. The QMTS collected data on Labour Force activities following the 19th International Conference for Labour Statisticians resolutions of 2013. Malepa shared that one of the key resolutions at the 2013 conference was that persons are considered employed only if they work for payment and/or profit gain. 

“This implies that persons engaged in subsistence farming are not considered to be in employment. Activities of producing goods & services mainly for own final use by household are not included under employment,” he said. Statistics Botswana explained that the primary objective of the 2019 QMTS was to provide a comprehensive set of indicators for labour market and poverty.

The set of indicators derived from the QMTS will provide Labour Market indicators required for the Labour Market Information System set up by the Human Resource Development Council on a regular basis and indicators that will guide the Poverty Eradication Strategy and poverty eradication programs implemented by the stakeholders.

“The plan is to conduct the QMTS continually, every quarter, to provide indicators for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Vision 2036, National Development Plan 11 (NDP11)(and subsequent NDPs), and Africa Agenda 2063,” explained Moffat Malepa.
A detailed look at the latest figures reveals that the estimated total labour force aged 15 years and above, clocked 940, 546 persons, comprising of 470, 793 or 50.1 percent  females, and 469, 753 or 49.9 % males.

Out of a total of 194, 990 job seekers, 52.2 percent (101, 799) were females, compared with 47.8 percent (93, 190 males). Females outnumbered males in the labour force, and were the highest contributors to the currently unemployed labour force with 101, 799 individuals compared with 93, 190 males. In terms of population aged 18 years and above, the total was estimated at 1,436,813 of which 934,338 were economically active and 502,477 were economically inactive. The economically active consisted of 742,792 employed individuals and 191,546 unemployed.

The 2019/20 July to September Quarterly Multi Topic Survey estimated the overall Employment to Population Ratio of 47.4 percent, with males and females recording 51.3 and 44.0 percent respectively. The Employment to Population Ratio (EPR) reflects the extent to which a country’s population is growing compared with creation of employment, that is, EPR is an indicator showing the ability of the economy to provide employment to its growing population.

A decline in EPR may be considered as an indication of economic slowdown. A high EPR value means that a large proportion of a country’s population is employed, while a low value means that a large share of the population is not involved directly in market-related production activities, either because they are unemployed or more likely out of the labour force altogether.

In terms of total labour force participation rate (LFPR) by age group between males and females Statistics Botswana estimated that for the period July – September 2019 the rate was 59.8 percent, with males recording 64.0 percent as compared to 56.2 percent recorded by females. Statistics Botswana experts explained that LFPR reflects the extent to which a country’s working age group is economically active. The labour force participation rate is a measure of the proportion of a country’s working age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work.

LFPR also provides an indication of the size of the supply of labour available to engage in the production of goods and services, relative to the population of working age group. For both males and females, participation rate in economic activity was prominent for age groups between 25-29 and 45-49 years. The highest rate was recorded for age group 35-39 at 82.1 percent, followed by age groups 40-44 and 30-34 with 81.3 and 80.2 percent respectively. From age group 55-59, the rate declined gradually until it reached 9.2 percent for age group 75 and above.

The 2019/20 QMTS recorded a total of 745,556 employed persons of which 376,563 (50.5 percent) were males; and 368,993 were females , accounting for 49.5 percent, during the first three months of the survey, being July to September 2019.
Comparing the third quarter 2019 (July to September 2019) of the 2019/20 QMTS with the 2015/16 annualized BMTHS shows that there has been an increase in total employment. Total employment increased from 689,528 persons to 745, 556 persons. This is an increase of 8.1 percent (56,028 persons)

In terms of earnings the survey found out that the average earnings for Professionals were the highest recording P12,455, followed by Managers and Technicians & Associate Professionals with P11,122 and P10,171 respectively. Elementary occupations average earnings were lowest recording P1,286 as these include jobs which are mostly unskilled.

Average earnings for citizens were estimated at P5, 117 while P12, 794 was recorded for non-citizens and P5, 404 for all employees. In almost all the industries males dominated females in terms of having higher average earnings, except in few industries like Real Estate Activities, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, Health, Extraterritorial Organisations.

Males recorded P6, 729 while females earn P4, 178 in total formal sector employment monthly average cash earnings. Comparing the third quarter 2019 estimated average cash earning from the 2019/20 QMTS Formal Sector Employment with the Fourth quarter 2018 Formal Sector Employment Survey (FSES) shows that there was a decrease in average earnings.

Fourth Quarter FSES monthly average cash earnings for Citizens was 6,206, while for 2019 QMTS was 5,117, for Non-Citizens was 20,374, from QMTS was 12,794, for all Employees was 6,533, while for QMTS was 5,404. The results of the 2019/20 Botswana Quarterly Multi Topic Survey estimated total unemployed of the actively seeking employment population at 194,990. The discouraged job seekers as were estimated at 68,654.

The total of the seeking and not seeking stood at 263, 644 persons who were without jobs in the seven day reference period. This is defined as the relaxed unemployment. Of these, 74.0 percent were actively seeking work and 26.0 percent were discouraged job seekers. Overall unemployment rate was estimated at 20.7 percent. The estimate relates to individuals who were actively seeking work during the reference period. The unemployment rate including the relaxed job seekers was estimated at 26.1 percent.

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Jackdish Shah loses interest in BDP

17th May 2022
Jackdish

As the preparations for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) congress are about to kick off, reports on the ground suggest that the party’s Deputy Treasurer Jackdish Shah will not defend the position in August as he contemplates relocation.

According to sources, the businessman who joined the BDP Central Committee in 2015 at the 36th Congress held in Mmadinare is ready to leave the party’s politburo. It is said he long made up his mind not to defend the position last year. A prominent businessman, Shah, when he won the position to assist Satar Dada in 2015 was expected to improve the party’s financial vibrancy. By then the party was under the leadership of Ian Khama.

According to close sources, Shah long decided not to contest because he has fallen out of favour with the party leadership. It is said he took the decision after some prominent businessmen who are BDP members and part of football syndicate decided to push him out and they used their proximity to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to badmouth him hence the decision.

“The fight at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Football League (BFL) has left him alone in the desert and some faces there used their close access to the President to isolate him,” said a source. Media reports say, Shah does not see eye to eye with BFA President MacLean Letshwiti who is also Masisi’s buddy hence the decision.

BFL Chairman Nicholas Zackhem is said to be not in good terms with Shah, who at one point Chaired the then Botswana Premier League (BPL). “He is seriously considering quitting because of what is unfolding at the team (Township Rollers) which is slowly not making financial gains and might be relegated and he wants to sell while it is still worth the investment,” said a highly placed source.

Shah is a renowned businessman who runs internet providing company Zebra net, H &G, game farm in Kasane, cattle farm in Ghanzi region and lot of properties in Gaborone. He also has two hotels in USA, his advisors have given him thumbs up on the possible decision of relocating provided he does not sell some of the investments that are doing well.

Asked about whether he will be contesting Shah could not confirm nor deny the reports. It is said for now it is too early as a public decision will have to be taken after the national council meeting and prior to the national congress. “As a BDP Central Committee member he cannot make that announcement now,” a BDP source said.

BDP is expected to assemble for the National Council during the July holidays while the National Congress is billed for August. It is then that the party will elect a new CC members. The last time BDP held elective congress was at Kang in 2019. The party is yet to issue writ.

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Govt ignores own agreements to improve public service

17th May 2022
Govt

The government has failed to implement some commitments and agreements that it had entered into with unions to improve conditions of public servants.

Three years after the government and public made commitments aimed at improving conditions of work and services it has emerged that the government has ignored and failed to implement all commitments on conditions of service emanating from the 2019 round of negotiations.

In its position paper that saw public service salaries being increased by 5%, the government the government has also signalled its intention to renege on some of the commitments it had made.
“Government aspires to look into all outstanding issues contained in the Labour Agreement signed between the Employer and recognised Trade Union on the 27th August 2019 and that it be reviewed, revised and delinked by both Parties with a view to agree on those whose implementation that can be realistically executed during the financial years 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively,” the government said.

Furthermore, in addition to reviewing, revising and de-linking of the outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement alluded to above and taking on a progressive proposal, government desires to review revise, develop and implement human resource policies as listed below during the financial year 2022/23,2023/24,2024/25

They include selection and appointment policy, learning and development policy, transfer guidelines, conditions of service, permanent and pensionable, temporary and part time, Foreign Service, expatriate and disciplinary procedures.

In their proposal paper, the unions which had proposed an 11 percent salary increase but eventually settled for 5% percent indicated that the government has not, and without explanation, acted on some of the key commitments from the 2019/2020 and 2021/22 round of negotiations.  The essential elements of these commitments include among others the remuneration Policy for the Public Service.

The paper states that a Remuneration Policy will be developed to inform decision making on remuneration in the Public Service. It is envisaged that consultations between the government and relevant key stakeholders on the policy was to start on 1st September 2019, and the development of the policy should be concluded by 30th June 2020.

The public sector unions said the Remuneration Policy is yet to be developed. The Cooperating Unions suggested that the process should commence without delay and that it should be as participatory as it was originally conceived. Another agreement relate to Medical Aid Contribution for employees on salary Grades A and B.

The employer contribution towards medical aid for employees on salary Grades A and B will be increased from 50% to 80% for the Standard Option of the Botswana Public
“Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme effective 1st October 2019; the cooperating unions insist that, in fulfilling this commitment, there should be no discrimination between those on the high benefit and those on the medium benefit plan,” the unions proposal paper says.

Another agreement involves the standardisation of gratuities across the Public Service. “Gratuities for all employees on fixed term contracts of 12 months but not exceeding 5 years, including former Industrial class employees be standardized at 30% across the Public Service in order to remove the existing inequalities and secure long-term financial security for Public Service Employees at lower grades with immediate effect,” the paper states.

The other agreement signed by the public sector unions and the government was the development of fan-shaped Salary Structure. The paper says the Public Service will adopt a best practice fan-shaped and overlapping structure, with modification to suit the Botswana context. The Parties (government and unions) to this agreement will jointly agree on the ranges of salary grades to allow for employees’ progression without a promotion to the available position on the next management level.

“The fan-shaped structure is envisaged to be in place by 1st June 2020, to enable factoring into the budgetary cycle for the financial year 2021/22,” the unions’ proposal paper states. It says the following steps are critical, capacity building of key stakeholders (September – December 2019), commission remuneration market survey (3 months from September to November 2019), design of the fan-shaped structure (2 to 3 months from January to March2020) and consultations with all key stakeholders (March to April 2020).

The unions and government had also signed an agreement on performance management and development: A rigorous performance management and reward system based on a 5-point rating system will be adopted as an integral part of the operationalization of the new Remuneration System.

Performance Management and Development (PMD) will be used to reward workers based on performance. The review of the Performance Management System was to be undertaken in order to close the gaps identified by PEMANDU and other previous reports on PMS between 1st September 2019 and 30th June 2020 as follows; internal process to update and revise the current Performance Management System by January 2020.

A job evaluation exercise in the Public Service will also be undertaken to among others establish internal equity, and will also cover the grading of all supervisory positions within the Public Service.
Another agreement included overtime Management. The Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) was to facilitate the conclusion of consultations on management of overtime, including consideration of the Overtime Management Task Team’s report on the same by 30th November 2019.

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Health Expert rejects ‘death rates’ links to low population growth

17th May 2022
Health-Expert

A public health expert, Dr Edward Maganu who is also the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health has said that unlike many who are expressing shock at the population census growth decline results, he is not, because the 2022 results represents his expectations.

He rushed to dismiss the position by Statistics Botswana in which thy partly attributes the low growth rates to mortality rates for the past ten years. “I don’t think there is any undercounting. I also don’t think death rates have much to do with it since the excessive deaths from HIV/AIDS have been controlled by ARVs and our life expectancy isn’t lower than it was in the 1990s,” he said in an interview with this publication post the release of the results.

Preliminary results released by Statistics Botswana this week indicated that Botswana’s population is now estimated to be 2,346,179 – a figure that the state owned data agency expressed worry over saying it’s below their projected growth. The general decline in the population growth rate is attributed to ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’ rates that the country registered on the past ten years since the last census in 2011.

Maganu explained that with an enlightened or educated society and the country’s total fertility rate, there was no way the country’s population census was going to match the previous growth rates.
“The results of the census make sense and is exactly what I expected. Our Total Fertility Rate ( the average number of children born to a woman) is now around 2.

This is what happens as society develops and educates its women. The enlightened women don’t want to bear many children, they want to work and earn a living, have free time, and give their few children good care. So, there is no under- counting. Census procedures are standard so that results are comparable between countries.

That is why the UN is involved through UNFPA, the UN Agency responsible for population matters,” said Maganu who is also the former adviser to the World Health Organisation. Maganu ruled out undercounting concerns, “I see a lot of Batswana are worried about the census results. Above is what I have always stated.”

Given the disadvantages that accompany low population for countries, some have suggested that perhaps a time has come for the government to consider population growth policies or incentives, suggestions Maganu deems ineffective.

“It has never worked anywhere. The number of children born to a woman are a very private decision of the woman and the husband in an enlightened society. And as I indicated, the more the women of a society get educated, the higher the tendency to have fewer children. All developed countries have a problem of zero population growth or even negative growth.

The replacement level is regarded as 2 children per woman; once the fertility level falls below that, then the population stops growing. That’s why developed countries are depending so much on immigration,” he said.

According to him, a lot of developing countries that are educating their women are heading there, including ourselves-Botswana. “Countries that have had a policy of encouraging women to have more children have failed dismally. A good example is some countries of Eastern Europe (Romania is a good example) that wanted to grow their populations by rewarding women who had more children. It didn’t work. The number of children is a very private matter,” said Maganu

For those who may be worried about the impact of problems associated with low growth rate, Maganu said: “The challenge is to develop society so that it can take care of its dependency ratio, the children and the aged. In developed countries the ratio of people over 60 years is now more than 20%, ours is still less than 10%.”

The preliminary results show that Mogoditshane with (88,098) is now the biggest village in the country with Maun coming second (85,293) and Molepolole at third position with 74,719. Population growth is associated with many economic advantages because more people leads to greater human capital, higher economic growth, economies of scale, the efficiency of higher population density and the improved demographic structure of society, among many others.

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