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BOFEPUSU proposes 13.5% salary hike

Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has proposed a 13.5% salary increment for civil servants under its mandate in the 2016/2017 salary negotiations.

In its 2016 salary negotiation proposal submitted to the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) on the 23rd of November 2015, BOFEPUSU states that the increment which will thrust government’s wage bill up to P1.6 billion is affordable as inflation since 2009 has increased by an astounding 43.7% with an 8% annual upsurge.

BOFEPUSU salary increment proposal in possession of WeekendPost also states that at the same time civil servants salaries were adjusted by a total 16% with the last increments done in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively with 10 and 3% each and without any increment in 2009 due to constraints associated with the financial down turn as well as in 2013 due protracted talks at PSBC.

BOFEPUSU says that it has calculated the wage bill of employees falling under the Public Service Act of 2008(PSA) to top the staggering figure of P12 billion and therefore the 13.5% increment will result in a wage bill pegged at P1,6 billion.

It also continues that the negotiations should be done to benefit only employee’s governed by the Public Service Act (2008) and that it wants its increment negotiations to exclude Members of Parliament, Councilors, and Dikgosi since they got up to 40% salary increments, atop a 6% hike that was negotiated for public service employees during the 2015/2016 salary negotiations.

Warns against Economic Stimulus Program (ESP)

BOFEPUSU also gives an ominous warning to government on going against the grain of counsel from Western think tanks, including Brookings Institute which it terms one of the best think tanks in the world as well as the National Development Plan 9(NDP 9) on its careening laser focus on infrastructural development. BOFEPUSU states, “It has been reported that Botswana is one of 10 Sub-Saharan countries that has surpassed the threshold for the domestic bankrolling of infrastructure. The acceptable limit is 5-6% while Botswana earmarks 7.1-8% of its GDP.”

BOFEPUSU also states that it is aware that government intends to draw funds from its foreign reserves to bankroll infrastructure development despite several warnings on its over-commitment on infrastructural development at the negligence of social and economic needs of households.

BOFEPUSU also continues to justify the 13.5% increment by citing that the economic stimulus program which it says will result in money being injected into the economy and it believes that the employees will not be forgotten considering their appreciation of the global financial tumult during the 2008 period and enduring long periods without any increment.

The powerful trade union bloc also says that; the fact that inflation is presently at its lowest in decades, having fallen below Bank of Botswana’s long term objective of 3-6% this actually means that real wages are being left at risk and therefore a significant salary increment will be a much needed shot in the arm for households and consequently stimulate small business sector growth.
BOFEPUSU also discouraged government against its intended reduction of the wage bill through ways that will not see protection of real wages as it is already a dispiriting factor for civil service employees. It goes on to state that it is alive to the fact that its wage increment proposition coincides with a time when there is need for fiscal restraint. It continues to warn that government’s large wage bill is related to the fact that government is a major employer as there is inadequate new employment in the private sector before proposing that efforts to reduce wage bill may not always be achieved by way of freezing wages of workers already employed.

Calls for scaling back spending on Security, Defense and Social Safety Nets

BOFEPUSU further proposes that in terms of overall expenditure a reduction in non-productive expenditure should be put in place such as those used in social safety nets. It goes on to say that to achieve these goals other areas to give less priority in less spending are Security and Defense and that efforts should be put in place to increase employment creation as a sustainable way of poverty eradication, rather that increasing spending on unproductive activities that contribute to a culture of dependency.

BOFEPUSU’s approximations also indicate that the country is on a track of pre-economic crisis growth levels and that government’s efforts to reduce the economy’s dependency on mining is bearing fruit. It also states that government has to bear in mind the escalation in prices of utilities such as electricity, medical aid, postal charges as well as residential rentals all which have recently rocketed skywards as well as the country’s economic system as an unregulated open market economy, exacerbates the problem as price increments for business will always transfer costs to consumers.

Introduction of 10% housing allowance for all civil servants

BOFEPUSU also proposes that in the 2016/2017 financial year, a housing allowance of 10% be introduced for all public service employees as it is no secret that financial institutions take delight and find it easy to advance funding to those with housing allowance. It also proposes that the current housing and upkeep allowance be considered a right to salary to its current beneficiaries and that a real housing allowance linked to salary be introduced. However it also proposes that for officers staying in government accommodation should have their housing allowance be scrapped off while those who do not stay in pool houses be eligible for the housing allowance.

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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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