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Ministry of Finance backs Pemandu salary proposals

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has, from an economy informed perspective, given the salary increment as is proposed by Pemandu report consultants the nod, fresh confidential report leaked to Weekend Post has revealed.  

The top secret report by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, titled “economic background paper to inform government’s position on the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers” indicates that the Pemandu recommendations to the government of Botswana are reasonable. Pemandu has recommended 20% increment for public servants on grades A and B; 10% for grades C and D; and 15% for grade E and F. It further states that in the absence of increments to civil servants on higher notches, of grades E and F, “we recommend the following; 15% for grades A and B; and 10% for grades C and D.”

The additional costs to the government however will be P1.23 billion, the Pemandu report stated, adding that the report is based on among others the affordability to the government; that it is fair to all; and sustainable to the government; and will act as a motivation to government employees. 
The Ministry of Finance states in their classified report dated 27th November 2018, that: “It is therefore important that the recommendations from the Pemandu study on the public service remunerations should be considered against all these other competing needs on the government budget, as well as the limited fiscal space available in the medium term.”

According to the Ministry report, which is based on the baseline budget for 2019/2020, and to be submitted to cabinet, one can consider two scenarios for the implementation of the recent Pemandu recommendations; “scenario 1 it’s either government adopts full implementation of the recommendations; or scenario 2 government adopts and implement at least 50% of the Pemandu recommendations.”

The Ministry explains that with the adoption of these scenarios, especially scenario 1 (full implementation of the recommendations), it would however entail serious trade-offs to be made on whether to cut some of the activities and projects included in the preliminary budget figures for 2019/2020; and/or make no provision for the just submitted report of the Presidential Commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and some specific officers.

The report conversely emphasises that the government should take cognizant of any provisions for the normal adjustments of salaries of public servants salaries to compensate for annual inflation; and make any provisions for emergencies such as droughts and possible outbreak of animal diseases. They were also advised to take note of any provisions for adjustments of salaries of the political and traditional leadership that may arise from the recommendations of the presidential commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and some specific officers.

In the case of Botswana, the report cautions that the adoption of any of the scenarios will require government to finance the budget deficit through borrowing, both domestically and externally, and/or drawing down on its cash balances held at the Bank of Botswana. It is understood that this nonetheless can also adversely affect the country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment required for economic growth and creation of jobs.

While the Ministry states in the report categorically that it has “no objection to the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers,” it says though that it is important that the government’s offer in the negotiation for salaries and conditions of public service should take into consideration the unfavourable fiscal outlook.

The Finance Ministry also advises that the financial requirements for implementing any recommendations arising from the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers will have to be considered against this backdrop of the tight fiscal situation. More importantly, report points out that the government will have to make more hard choices at the appropriate time, given the competing demands on the budget.

In the end, as a country, it says government cannot afford to deviate from the path of fiscal sustainability by going beyond the threshold of a budget deficit of 4.0 % of GDP, as this could result in serious consequences for the economy. In view of the limited fiscal space in the medium term, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development therefore recommends that government’s offer “should not exceed scenario 2, which translates to 50% of the total remunerations (to public servants)” recommended in the Pemandu study.

While the adoption of this scenario, the Ministry acknowledges that it would result in the worsening of the deficit for 2019/2020 to P7.9 billion, or -3.7 % of GDP, against the country’s threshold of 4.0 %, but it would nonetheless leave some room for expenditures that may arise from the recommendations of the presidential commission on the review of salaries and conditions of service for the political and traditional leadership and specified officers.

Meanwhile, when delivering his inaugural 2018 State of the Nation Address on November 5, 2018, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi had previously said once the Pemandu Associates report had been finalised, government would engage public sector unions on the recommendations thereto. In addition, President Masisi in the SONA also informed the nation of his appointment of a commission, headed by Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe, to review the conditions of service for the MPs, councillors, Ntlo ya Dikgosi and the judiciary which has since submitted its recommendations in December.

Masisi had said that it was government’s wish of for any recommendations agreed upon – to be budgeted for and effected on April 1 2019, which is the government financial cycle. Sources at the government enclave told this publication however that the controversial Pemandu report has long been completed but “shelved” for reasons best known to government particularly Office of the President and Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM). The report was compiled by the Malaysian consultancy private firm which was contracted by the Botswana government at the cost of USD 1,677,390 (BWP 17,666,271.4800), inclusive withholding tax of USD 218, 790.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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