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Formal employment decreased 0.3%

Statistics Botswana has revealed that formal employment decreased by 0.3 percent between June 2017 and March 2017 with Central Government recording the highest decrease of 0.6 percent, followed by Private and Local Government with 0.3 percent each.

According to the Stats Brief signed in December 2017 by Acting Statistician General, Dr Burton Mnguni, the decrease in Private sector was mainly spurred by decline in employment in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, recording a decrease of 1.8 percent and 1.0 percent respectively. The Parastatal Organisations recorded an increase in employment of 1.4 percent.

On the other hand, the Stats Brief states that the Agriculture and Health sectors recorded an increase in employment of 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent between the two quarters. The Stats Brief presents formal employment figures during the month of June 2017. The information for this brief is collected quarterly from business establishments through a mailed questionnaire. The brief also presents average earning or wages for all establishments in Government, parastatals and the private sector.

The same Brief from Statistics Botswana further revealed that Employee earnings increased from P6,001 in March 2017 to P 6,052 between June 2017 and March 2017, which was an increase of 0.7 percent. Statistics Botswana wants the brief help stakeholders in informing their periodic planning and policy formulation. However, Statistics Botswana says it continues to face serious challenges of some business establishments not responding to the questionnaire thereby, soliciting rigorous and costly follow ups.

“The non-response may also compromise the accuracy of the figures generated and consequently the decisions based on those figures. Business entities are, therefore, encouraged to report their employment figures quarterly to enable Statistics Botswana to provide information that will guide informed decision making at all levels,” reads the report.


According to Statistics Botswana report, overall employment decreased by 0.3 percent (1,254 persons) from 405,810 persons in March 2017 to 404,556 persons in June 2017. Central Government recorded the highest decrease in employment of 0.6 percent, followed by Local Government and Private with 0.3 percent decrease in employment respectively. Parastatal recorded an increase in employment of 1.4 percent.

The report further states that in June 2017, a total of 11,066 (2.7 percent) employees were non-citizens. Out of this total, Private and Parastatal sectors recorded 9,904 employees. Education industry was the major employer of non-citizens (18.3 percent), followed by Wholesale & Retail Trade industry (17.2 percent) and Manufacturing industry (15.1 percent). A total of 404,556 employees were recorded, of which 201,770 (49.9 percent) were males while 202,787 (50.1 percent) were females.


Monthly average earnings for citizens stood at P5, 720, P17, 859 for non-citizen and P6, 052 for all employees as at end of June 2017. There was an increase of 0.7 percent in monthly average earnings for all employees from March 2017 (P6, 007) to June 2017 (P6, 052).

“Minimum hourly wage rates in Thebe per hour from April 2009 to November 2017 for Private and Parastatal sectors only shows that the Minimum hourly rate increased by 52 percent between 2009 and 2017 from 380 thebe to 579 thebe respectively. The minimum hourly wage rates have been increasing over the above mentioned years except for 2009 to 2011, where the rates remained the same for three (3) years.

According to the Stats Brief, most industries were almost constant in terms of employment increment, except for two industries which recorded significant decreases, being Construction industry and Manufacturing which recorded declines of 1.8 and 1.0 percent respectively. Agriculture industry and Health recorded the highest increases in employment with 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, followed by Transport & Communication with 0.4 percent increment in employment.

The report indicates that males dominated their female counterparts in Private and Parastatal sectors with 57.4 percent and 57.9 percent respectively. Males constituted 46.2 percent for Central Government and 35.9 percent for Local Government. Female employees were higher in Local Government (64.1 percent), followed by those in Central Government (53.8 percent).

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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