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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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Botswana’s development agenda in jeopardy

21st September 2020
Botswana’s-development-agenda-in-jeopardy--water-construction

Stanbic Bank Botswana Quarterly Economic Review indicates that Botswana will fail to meet some of its Vision 2036 targets, particularly unemployment reduction and reaching high-income status.

The report says this is mainly due to the slow economic growth that the country is currently experiencing. This Quarterly Economic Review focuses on the 2020 Budget Speech.

The first paper reviews the entire budget with its key observations being that this budget is prepared as prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act; the priorities it seeks to address are drawn from Vision 2036 and the eleventh

The 2020 budget Speech, which was the maiden speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, and the first after the 2019 general elections, was delivered to Parliament on the 4th of February 2020.

It has been well received by the labour unions, business community, and the public at large as well as international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It mainly derived its support from key facets including, emphasis on changing the business-as-usual approach to development; outlining the transformation agenda; fiscal reform that minimizes the negative impact on economic development and human welfare, competiveness and the decision to implement the 2019 negotiated and agreed public sector.

The budget’s progress review shows that economic growth was consistent with the NDP 11 projections, with growth of around 4 percent. At this growth rate, the country would neither ascend to a high-income status nor reduce unemployment towards the Vision 2036 target of a single digit.

Simple calculations of this review confirm that the economy will need to grow the Vision 2036’s target of 6 percent over the next 16 years for per capita income to increase from around USD 8,000.00 to above USD 12,000.00 in current prices.

Further, the population is anticipated to grow by only 2 percent per annum.

For this reason, the focal areas for the forthcoming FY’s budget include measures to increase economic growth towards an average of 6 percent per annum.

Economic diversification is reportedly progressing fairly well. The report says, the share of the non-mining private sector in value added has risen to 66 percent in 2018 from to 63 percent in 2015.

The sectoral pattern of growth showed that the performance of services sector (particularly transport & communications, trade, hotels & restaurants, and finance & business services) has been the silver lining and that of mining sector was subdued whilst the utility sector disappointed.

The drive towards the service sector of the economy, especially to low-productivity activities (tourism, public administration, wholesaling and retailing) does not bode well for the country’s development aspirations.

In the previous versions of this Quarterly Review, it was noted that there is need for the rethinking of economic diversification. Since the country’s domestic market is small, it is inevitable that economic diversification not only focus on broadening the product mix, but also the composition of exports and markets.

This understanding of economic diversification has not been embraced by this year’s budget. Consequently, Botswana’s exports are still overwhelmingly diamonds, which means that the rest of economic sectors are still highly dependent on foreign-exchange earnings from diamonds. Thus, “the transformation programme requires a review of the country’s entire ecosystem”.

The budget review of the economic context also depicts that an economy with positive medium-term prospects, with growth expected to recover to 4.4 percent in 2020 from the expected growth of 36 percent in 2019 largely due to faster growth of services sectors and, thereafter, to slow-down to 4 percent in 2021.

These projected growth rates are comparable to those of the IMF staff’s baseline scenario of 4.2 percent in 2020 and 4 percent in 2021. Thus, the business-as-usual scenario produces growth rates that are still too low to achieve Botswana’s development objectives and create enough jobs to absorb the new entrants into the labour market.

Trade tensions between the two major markets for diamond exports, viz., the United States of America and China, is one of the factors that are cited as contributing to, indeed, undermining not only the domestic growth, but also the fiscal position.

Another notable downside risk to both global and domestic growth is outbreak of the coronavirus in China around January 2020. This has been declared as a global health emergency. In an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, the Chinese authorities have ordered city lockdowns and extended holidays, of course, at the expense of near- term economic growth, according to the new Stanbic Bank Botswana report.

According to Nomura Holdings Inc., fewer migrant workers returned for work than in previous years and business activities have been slow to pick up. The havoc wreaked by the virus on the world’s second largest economy is likely to spill over to the global economy. In fact, it has resulted in a glut in crude oil and, thereby placed oil markets into a contango, i.e., a market structure where near-term prices trade at a discount to future contracts.

It also presents significant risks one of Botswana’s main drivers of economic growth, diversification and foreign exchange earnings. According to the Financial Times (February 13, 2020), Chinese tourists spent $130 billion overseas in 2018. Regardless of whether the growth materializes, the projected domestic growth rate would not transform the economy to a high-income one.

Progress towards reduction of unemployment, to a target of single digit, and poverty and achieving inclusive growth has also been relatively slow, the Stanbic Bank Botswana Review says.

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OP leases Orapa House

21st September 2020
Orapa House

Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration (MOPAGPA) has through the Office of the President (OP) proposed to avail Orapa House for use by private training institutions as well as research institutions involved in the area of technology development.

For a very long time the monumental building located in the heart of the city has been a white elephant, despite government purchasing it for nearly P80 million from De Beers in 2012.

However, government has now identified a productive use for the iconic building. “The overall vision is for the building to be transformed into a hub for digital technology research and development to be carried-out by institutions, such as; Limkokwing University, BIUST, BITRI and other relevant stakeholders.”

The decision was taken as government traverse a new path of transforming the economy from a mineral led economy to a knowledge based economy through the promotion of research and innovation. However, the facility will need major maintenance to be carried-out in order to meet the requirements of the proposed change in use.

“The work will include provision of laboratories, work stations, production areas and seminar rooms; audio visual centre, high speed internet connectivity, exhibition areas and offices,” reads the proposal note for the development.

These developments will be done through the refurbishment and maintenance of the main building, workshop, and ablution block, gate house, parking area, grounds, and access control and security service.

“There will be minimal modifications to the structure as it stands. The project is estimated to cost approximately P50, 000, 000,” says the report. In this regard, it is said, the initial scope of the OP facility will be modified to accommodate the envisaged digital technology research and development hub.

With funds needed to improve the building, OP has requested that; “the 2020/21 annual budget provision for Orapa House will need to be increased by P37,500,000 from P2,500,000 to P40,000,000 to kick start the maintenance works.” Funds will be sourced from the projects that have been delayed due to Covid-19 protocols during the 2020/21 financial year.

The building has been a thorny issue for government for years. Initially, OP was expected to move there but the move never materialised. At one point it was a question of whether the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were planning to override a decision by Parliament which rejected the proposal to buy Orapa House under the belief that government may be buying its own property. The building was to be bought at a negotiated cost of P79 million.

Again in 2012, Government had wanted to buy Orapa House for a negotiated P79m but the Finance and Estimates Committee of Parliament had rejected the request because of the inconsistencies realised in the supporting documents of the proposed procurement. The valuation of the building was put at P74 million.

The Ministry of Lands and Housing had initially offered De Beers P73, 000,000 as the purchase price. However, De Beers countered with P85, 000,000. On negotiation and converging of the minds, the selling price was finally agreed at P79, 000,000.

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Sad state of Brigades: dumped and ignored!

21st September 2020
Brigades

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele, has expressed discontentment at the worrying and deteriorating state of brigades in the country.

In an audit inspection which was carried out at Tshwaragano Brigade in Gabane, a number of observations showed weaknesses and shortcomings in the conduct of the financial affairs of the institution.

According to Letebele’s report, former students of the brigade had been engaged to carry out maintenance works on the school premises, comprising of painting, tiling, plumbing and electrical works, which covered the period from July 2017 to June 2018.

Although the agreed maintenance period had elapsed, the works had not been completed because of unavailability of funds and this situation had persisted up till the time of inspection in November 2019.

Auditor General says arrangements should have been made in time for funds to be available to complete these relatively minor works even before the works commenced.

Various contractors had been engaged for clearing the bush and for the supply of concrete stones, pit and river sand and hiring equipment for digging the trench towards the construction of an auto mechanics workshop, the report said.

It stated that the cost of services and supplies provided totalled P117 949.80. However, despite the services and the supplies having been paid for, the construction works had not commenced for a long period afterwards, resulting in the trench filling back in.

The audit inquiries had not elicited satisfactory responses as both the institution and the Ministry had not accepted the responsibility for the project, although orders for the provision for the supplies had been made. For their part, the Ministry had stated that they had sub warranted funds for the purchase of porta cabins.

Letebele indicated that it is therefore confusing that a project which is critical to the functioning of an institution such as this one would commence without a well-defined plan.

Furthermore, the accounting and maintenance of records for the supplies items were not of the standard prescribed by the Supplies Regulations and Procedures in that the supplies ledger cards, the main accounting records for Government assets, were not properly maintained for the recording of receipts and issues.

This had resulted in significant discrepancies between physical and ledger balances, while in other instances the supplies items had not been recorded at all.

The report says 24 of the 91 new computers found in the computer laboratory at Kumakwane ABC campus were not recorded anywhere, as were the other computers in the storeroom which could not be counted due to the disorderly storage conditions.

The institution had entered into a contract agreement with a security company for the provision of security services at Tshwaragano Brigade, ABC and Horticulture campuses at Kumakwane for a 2-year period which ended in June 2018, WeekendPost learnt.

After the contract expired in June 2018, an extension was granted till the 30th September 2018. Since then, there has been no security service coverage for the institution to-date. According to Auditor General, in the face of prevailing crimes, it is of paramount importance that government properties be protected by provision of security services at all times.

At Tlokweng Brigade, it was noted that the kitchen staff were working under difficult conditions as the kitchen facilities and equipment, such as the cold room, tilting pot, food warmers and solar power for hot water were dysfunctional. The kitchen roof was leaking and men’s restrooms was not working. All these need to be brought to a reasonable and functional state of repair.

The kitchen staff should use a purpose-designed Rations Ledger for the recording of receipts and issues of foodstuffs to reflect the usage of those items. As far back as 2014 the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services had found that the house occupied by the bursar was uninhabitable on account of structural defects, the report said.

A site visit during the audit had established that the house was indeed unfit for occupation as there were cracks on the walls, power switches were not working and the roof was leaking. On a sadder note, there were a number of finished items of clothing, such as dresses, shirts, and jackets from students’ practical exercises from the Fashion Design Textiles Workshop.

Auditor General shared her take on this, saying: “I have not been able to ascertain the policy on the disposal of products from these practicals. A trace of 103 green acid-proof overalls which had been purchased in August 2018 had indicated that there was no record of these items having been recorded or issued, nor were they available in stock. I was not able to obtain any explanation for this situation.”

Kgatleng brigade was also audited and inspected by Auditor General who observed that the brigade has 26 institutional houses at Bokaa, both old campus and new campus. Some of these houses are very old and dilapidated, with two declared uninhabitable. The condition of the houses is a clear indication of lack of care and maintenance of these properties.

At the time of the audit, there was no contractor engaged for the provision of security guard services at the new campus, after expiry of the previous one in July 2019.  It is hoped that steps would be taken to safeguard the security of the premises and government properties against any acts of hooliganism.

In August 2019, there was a break-in at the electrical and at the plumbing maintenance workshops and a number of high value items, such as drilling machines, bolt cutters, spanners and cables, were stolen. The break-in and theft were reported to the police.

“However, at the time of writing this report I was not aware of the outcome of the police investigation, nor of any loss report submitted in terms of the Supplies Regulations and Procedures,” Letebele said.

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