Trade and Industry minister Mmusi Kgafela says while the number of jobs to be cut in the rationalisation of parastatals is still unclear, employees should prepare themselves to 'transition' out of the public service and find opportunities in the private sector.
The ministry has the most number of parastatals affected by the rationalisation programme announced by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in March. Kgafela’s ministry will be left with five parastatals out of the current 11 when the rationalisation exercise is complete in about two years.
“We cannot ignore the fact some of our souls who have contributed so much to the development of our economy will inevitably and as an unintended consequence, find themselves no longer part of the public service,” Kgafela said at a briefing earlier today.
“It’s a reality that we need to face. “However, if that occurs, it must not be a case of a loss of job or work, but of transitioning, and I would urge all government officials to prepare for transitioning from a focus on the public service to more on the private sector.” Kgafela said the ministry had successfully passed several policies and strategies designed to support entrepreneurial development such as the Middle Class Strategy and laws around the ease of doing business, which would support workers who leave the public service.
He said agencies such as the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency and the Local Enterprise Authority would be involved in helping affected civil servants transition. Kgafela added that while the rationalisation would improve government efficiency and reduce spending, it would be done gradually so that it was not disruptive to employees’ lives and livelihoods.
“The private sector must be receptive to anyone who leaves the public sector and it is for us to prepare them, so that someone who has been successful with us, when they go to the private sector, they don’t find it repulsive to the point that they are not able to sustain anything. “It must not be a case where we cut costs in one area and this results in increased costs in the social welfare area,” he said.
According to the timetable Masisi gave in March, the functions of SPEDU were to be transferred to the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) within six months, while BITC would merge with the Special Economic Zones Authority and the Botswana Tourism Organisation within two years.