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Ipelegeng popular among women

The latest Labour Statistics Report 2013 published by Statistics Botswana in June 2017 has revealed that trend shows that employment for both males and females increased between the years 2006 and 2009, forming a mirror image, when male employment decreased then the female employment increased.


The gap between males and females was reduced during the month of September 2012; this is due to a significant number of females employed by the Ipelegeng program in Local government. This shows that Ipelegeng is absorbing more women than men.


Ipelegeng is a Government Initiative or programme whose main objective is to provide short term employment support and relief whilst at the same time carrying out essential development projects that have been identified and prioritized through the normal development planning process.


It targets unskilled and semi-skilled labour for short term assistance due to other economic factors through the use of simple tools and machinery. The programme focuses on maintenance of public facilities. Ipelegeng is targeted mainly at being a source of supplementary income and employment to, but not limited to, vulnerable members of the community. Currently the programme targets at engaging a total of 50,000 beneficiaries per month.


Meanwhile the 2013 Labour report states that in September 2013 the employment for females started to decrease in the formal sector. On employment by sex and sector the results show that during September 2013, the highest proportion of female employees was in Central Government constituting 53.0 percent, followed by Parastatal organisations with 41.2 percent.

 

“The lowest proportion of women was found in the Local Government with 36.6 percent. Local Government had the highest proportion male employees, 63.4 percent followed by Private sector with 59.2 percent. Overall, there were more males (56.9 percent) as compared to females (43.1 percent),” reads the report.

 

At industry level, more men were found in Mining & Quarrying with 84.8 percent, followed by Construction and Water & Electricity with 80.9 and 71.9 percent respectively. Females dominated in Health & Social Work, Other Community Activities, Financial Intermediaries and Hotels & Restaurants, with 70.3, 64.2, 62.9 and 58.2 percent respectively.
 

Total formal sector employment

 

Total formal sector employment for the years 2009 to 2013 increased from 389,692 persons during September 2012 to 399,530 persons in September 2013, an increase of 9,838 employees (2.5 percent) over the twelve months period, the report says.

 

Local Government employment recorded a significant increase of 9.6 percent, from 78,725 in September 2012 to 86,257 persons employed during the same month in 2013; followed by Parastatal Organisations with 7.7 percent, from 17,484 to 18,838 persons over the same period. Meanwhile private companies recorded an increase of 0.7 percent, from 188,531 persons in September 2012 to 189,894 persons in September 2013, while Central Government showed a decrease of 0.4 percent, from 104,925 to 104,541 persons in September 2013.
 

For the years 2003 to 2013 the trend shows that overall employment was increasing over the period, except for the year 2005 where there was a slight drop due to a decrease in the number of Central Government employees. Formal Sector Employment as at September 2013 indicates that for Private & Parastatal employment by industry for September 2012 and September 2013.

 

“Almost all the industries, recorded an increase in employment levels in September 2013. Water & Electricity recorded the highest increase of 11.9 percent in employment, followed by Health with 2.1 percent. Mining & Quarrying recorded an increase of 2.0 percent in employment during the twelve months period. Real Estate remained constant over the twelve months period. Water & Electricity recorded the highest increase in employment (4.5 percent); followed by Agriculture and Other Community Services with 3.5 and 2.0 percent respectively. Health & Social Work and Real Estate were constant over this period.”


According to the Statistics Botswana Labour report, private sector employment accounted for 47.5 percent of total formal employment in September 2013. Central Government accounted for 26.2 percent of the total formal employment in September 2013, while Local government and Parastatals recorded 21.6 and 4.7 percent respectively.


Commerce (Wholesale & Retail Trade and Hotels & Restaurants) constituted 31.6 percent of total Private & Parastatal employment during September 2013, followed by Manufacturing and Construction with 17.8 and 11.4 percent respectively. Health & Social Work recorded the lowest employment with 1.5 percent.


Employment by industry between September 2012, December 2012 and September 2013 is shown in Figure 1.6 below. The results show that between September 2012 and December 2012, most industries recorded a slight increases in employment. Only two industries, that is, Agriculture and Other community Services recorded decreases, of 2.7 (from 6,479 to 6,304) and 1.0 percent (from 4,214 to 4,170) in employment respectively. Between December 2012 and September 2013, four industries, Hotels & Restaurant, Transport & Communication, Financial Intermediaries and Education recorded decreases in employment. Real Estate was almost constant over the three quarters.


The labour force


In 2013, the labour force consisted of 900,337 persons. The labour force comprises the employed and the unemployed. Amongst the labour force, 720,296 (80.0%) were employed and 180,041 (20.0%) were unemployed. The unemployed are persons who stated that they were actively seeking work during the reference period, and are aged 15 years and above. Information on discouraged job seekers, (that is; people who were available to work but not seeking work during the reference period because they were discouraged) was not collected.
 

Employed population is defined to cover all persons in the working age group (15 years and over). The survey estimated employed persons at 720,294, of which 382,043 were males (53.0 percent) and 338,251 (47.0 percent) were females. The main industrial employers were Agriculture (25.5 percent), Wholesale and Retail Trade (13.2 percent), Real Estate (8.3 percent), Public Administration (8.1 percent) and Local Government (7.4 percent). Foreign Missions were the least with 340 employees, representing 0.05 percent of total employment.

 

Males were more dominant in Construction with 92.1 percent, followed by Transport & Communication and Mining & Quarrying with 89.1 and 80.5 percent respectively. Female employment in Education, Financial Intermediaries, Local Government and Health accounted for more than 60 percent of employment in each of sectors. A significant number of females was recorded in Private Households (91.1 percent) followed by Education (72.0 percent).
 

The Survey indicates that the most common occupations were elementary occupation accounting for 28.5 percent followed by Skilled Agricultural Workers and Services/Sales workers with 16.1 and 12.2 percent of the total employment respectively. The majority of Elementary Occupations were in the Agricultural industry, (33.2 percent) followed by Local Government and Private Households with 17.8 and 16.6 percent respectively. Managers/Administrators recorded the least occupation with 3.8 percent.
 

“The results indicated that 67.7 percent of the employed population worked for paid employment (in cash), followed by 15.1 percent of persons who worked in their lands/cattle posts. Self-employed persons (with no employees) recorded 9.2 percent of the total employment. The majority (17.1 percent) of employed population was in Gaborone, followed by Kweneng East with (12.7 percent) and Central Serowe/Palapye ranked third with 7.8 percent.

 

Unemployment rate

 

The Botswana AIDS Impact Survey overall unemployment rate was estimated at 20.0 percent, higher than the 19.9 percent recorded during the 2011 Population and Housing Census. The most affected age groups were the youths aged 20-24 and 25-29 as shown in the figure below.
 

“The total unemployed population was 180,041 out of which 82,834 (46.0 percent) were males, and 97,206 (54.0 percent) were females. Unemployment was more prevalent among the age group, 20-24 years, which constituted 28.7 percent of the total unemployment, followed by aged group 25-29 years with 22.1 percent. Youth aged 15-34 years accounted for 77.7 percent of the total unemployed during the 2013 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey.”

 

Most of the unemployed were found in urban villages (46.0 percent). This could be due to migration of the population from rural areas to urban villages for better opportunities. The least unemployment was recorded by Towns with 5.2 percent.

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Civil Service volatility: Democracy vs Bureaucracy

19th April 2021
President Masisi

Here is how one Permanent Secretary encapsulates the clear tension between democracy and bureaucracy in Botswana: “President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s Government is behaving like a state surrounded with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender. The situation has turned so volatile, for tomorrow is not guaranteed for us top civil servants.

These are the painful results of a personalized civil service in our view as permanent secretaries”. Although his deduction of the situation may be summed as sour grapes because he is one of the ‘victims’ of the reshuffle, he is convinced this is a perfect description of the rationale behind frequent changes and transfers characterising the current civil service.

The result of it all, he said, is that “there is too much instability at managerial and strategic levels of the civil service leading to a noticeable directionless civil service.” He continued: “Changes and transfers are inevitable in the civil service, but to a permissible scale and frequency. Think of soccer team coach who changes and transfers his entire squad every month; you know the consequences?”

The Tsunami has hit hard at critical departments and Ministries leaving a strong wave of uncertainty, many demoralised and some jobless. In traditional approaches to public administration, democracy gives the goals; and bureaucracy delivers the technical efficiency required for implementation. But the recent moves in the civil service are indicative of conflicting imperatives – the notion of separation between politicians and administrators is becoming blurred by the day.

“Look at what happened to Prisons and BDF where second in command were overlooked for outsiders, and these are the people who had sacrificially served for donkey’s years hoping for a seat at the ladder’s end. The frequency of the changes, at times affecting the same Ministry or individual also demonstrates some level of ineptitude, clumsiness and lack of foresight from those in charge,” remarked the PS who added that their view is that the transfers are not related to anything but “settling scores, creating corruption opportunities and pushing out perceived dissident and former president, Ian Khama’s alleged loyalists and most of these transfers are said to be products of intelligence detection.”

Partly blaming Khama for the mess and his unwillingness to let go, the PS dismissed Masisi for falling to the trap and failing to outgrow the destructive tiff. “Khama is here to stay and the sooner Masisi comes to terms with the fact that he (Masisi) is the state President, the better. For a President to still be making these changes and transfers signals signs of a confused man who has not yet started rolling his roadmap, if at all it was ever there. I am saying this because any roadmap comes with key players and policies,” he concluded.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness seems to be the most hard-hit by the transfers, having experienced three Permanent Secretaries changes within a year and a half. Insiders say the changes have everything to do with the Ministry being the centre of COVID-19 tenders and economic opportunities. “The buck stops with the PS and no right-thinking PS can just allow glaring corruption under his watch as an accounting officer. Technocrats are generally law abiding, the pressure comes with politically appointed leaders racing against political terms to loot,” revealed a director in the Ministry preferring anonymity.

The latest transfer of Kabelo Ebineng she says was also motivated by his firm attitude against the President’s blue-eyed Task Team boys. “The Task Team wants to own the COVID-19 pandemic and government interventions and always cry foul when the Ministry reasserts itself as mandated by law,” said the director who added that Masisi who was always caught between the crossfire decided on sacrificing Ebineng to the joy of his team as they (Task Team) were in the habit of threatening to resign citing Ebineng as the problem.

Ebineng joins the Office of the President as a deputy Coordinator (government implementation and coordination office).The incoming PS is the soft-spoken Grace Muzila, known and described by her close associates as a conformist albeit knowledgeable.

One of the losers in the grand scheme is Thato Raphaka who many had seen as the next PSP because of his experience and calm demeanour following a declaration of interest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretary post by the current PSP, Elias Magosi.

But hardly ten months into his post, Raphaka has been transferred out to the National Strategy Office in what many see as a demotion of some sort. Other notable changes coming into OP are Pearl Ramokoka formerly with the Employment, Labour and Productivity Ministry coming in as a Permanent Secretary and Kgomotso Abi as director of Public Service Reforms.

One of the ousted senior officers in the Office of the President warned that there are no signs that the changes and transfers will stop anytime soon: “If you are observant you would have long noticed that the changes don’t only affect senior officers but government decisions as well. A decision is made today and the government backtracks on it within a week. Not only that, the President says this today, and his deputy denies it the following day in Parliament,” he warned.

Some observers have blamed the turmoil in the civil service partly to lack of accountable presidential advisers or kitchen cabinet properly schooled on matters of statecraft. They point out that politicians or those peripheral to them should refrain from hampering the technical and organizational activities of public managers – or else the party (reshuffling) won’t stop.

In the view expressed by some Permanent Secretaries, Elias Magosi, has not really been himself since joining the civil service; and has cut a picture of indifference in most critical engagements; the most notable been a permanent secretaries platform which he chairs. As things stand there is need to reconcile the imperatives of democracy and democracy in Botswana. Peace will rein only when public value should stand astride the fault that runs between politicians and public managers.

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Morupisi fights for freedom in court

19th April 2021
morupisi

Former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, is fighting for survival in a matter in which the State has charged him and his wife, Pinnie Morupisi, with corruption and money laundering.

Morupisi has joined a list of prominent figures that served in the previous administration and who have been accused of corruption during their tenure in office. While others have been emerging victorious, Morupisi is yet to find that luck. The High Court recently dismissed his no case to answer application.

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Pressure mounts on Biden to suspend Covid-19 vaccine patents

19th April 2021
Joe Biden

United States President, Joe Biden, is faced with a decision to make relating to the Covid-19 vaccine intellectual property after 175 former world leaders and Nobel laurates joined the campaign urging the US to take “urgent action” to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines to help boost global inoculation rates.

According to the world leaders, doing so would allow developing countries to make their own copies of the vaccines that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies without fear of being sued for intellectual property infringements.

“A WTO waiver is a vital and necessary step to bringing an end to this pandemic. It must be combined with ensuring vaccine know-how and technology is shared openly,” the signatories, comprising more than 100 Nobel prize-winners and over 70 former world leaders, wrote in a letter to US President Joe Biden, according to Financial Times.

A measure to allow countries to temporarily override patent rights for Covid related medical products was proposed at the World Trade Organization by India and South Africa in October, and has since been backed by nearly 60 countries.

Former leaders who signed the letter included Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister; François Hollande, former French President; Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR; and Yves Leterme, former Belgian Prime Minister.

In their official communication, South Africa and India said: “As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19 are developed, there are significant concerns [about] how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices to meet global demand.”

While developed countries have been able to secure enough vaccine to inoculate their citizens, developing countries such as Botswana are struggling to source enough to swiftly vaccine their citizens, something which world leaders believe it would work against global recovery therefore proving counter-productive.

Since the availability of vaccines, Botswana has been able to secure only 60 000 doses of vaccines, 30 000 as donation as from the Indian government, while the other 30 000 was sourced through COVAX facility.  Canada, has pre-ordered vaccines in surplus and it will be able to vaccinate each of its citizens six times over. In the UK and US, it is four vaccines per person; and two each in the EU and Australia.

For vaccines produced in Europe, developing countries are forced to pay double what European countries are paying, making it more expensive for already financially struggling economies.  European countries however justify the price of vaccines and that they deserve to buy them cheap since they contributed in their development.

It is evident that vaccines cannot be made available immediately to all countries worldwide with wealthy economies being the only success story in that regard, something that has been referred to as a “catastrophic moral failure”, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The challenge facing developing countries is not only the price, but also the capacity of vaccine manufactures to be able to do so to meet global demand within a short time. The proposal for a patent waiver by India and South Africa has been rejected by developed countries, known for hosting the world leading pharmaceutical companies such US, European Union, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

According to the Financial Times, US business groups including pharmaceutical industry representatives, have urged Biden to resist supporting a waiver to IP rules at the WTO, arguing that the proposal led by India and South Africa was too “vague” and “broad”.

The individuals who signed the letter, including Nobel laureates in economics as well as from across the arts and sciences, warned that inequitable vaccine access would impact the global economy and prevent it from recovering.

“The world saw unprecedented development of safe and effective vaccines, in major part thanks to US public investment,” the group wrote. “We all welcome that vaccination rollout in the US and many wealthier countries is bringing hope to their citizens.”

“Yet for the majority of the world that same hope is yet to be seen. New waves of suffering are now rising across the globe. Our global economy cannot rebuild if it remains vulnerable to this virus.”
The group warned that fully enforcing IP was “self-defeating for the US” as it hindered global vaccination efforts. “Given artificial global supply shortages, the US economy already risks losing $1.3tn in gross domestic product this year.”

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