EDD is the way to go

To make real citizen empowerment drive, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) issued a directive to government departments, local authorities and parastatals to procure goods and services from citizen companies.

Last week’s directive will hopefully help reduce the P58 billion annual import bill. This is an initiative that the MTI undertook a few years back, when it was under the leadership of Dorcas Makgato. It is a commendable effort for the government to make such commitments at a time when unemployment threatens the stability of this nation. Youth unemployment especially has manifested into growing crime, as such acts as house burglary, car break-ins, street robberies, and shop break-ins have become a daily occurance. Statistics show that the majority of the culprits are youth aged between 18 and 30-years-old, most of whom are out of school and with no source of income. Of course we cannot ignore the fact that not all criminals are driven by poverty but greed.

If well managed, Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) is a good initiative that could provide income for many budding entrepreneurs, and that should have been put in place decades ago, and coupled with vigorous training of the youth on vocational fields.  Other governments are very protective of their territories, and have put stringent laws in place to boost their local industries, something we should emulate.It should always be remembered that the government recently imposed an advertising ban in some private media.  The basis for the advertising ban was that the government was cutting costs. It is a fact that the government, or whoever made that decision, was motivated by anger at the unbiased reporting by the private media, that includes reporting both negative and positive news about the government. Unlike the State owned media, the private media has also afforded opposition parties, and politicians a platform for news coverage, as well as expression of opinions. We hope that the EDD initiative will not be used to empower activists of the ruling party at the expense of quality goods and services. We appeal for regulations to curb the monopoly of big companies on procurement of these goods and services.

The government should help the informal sector grow.  The opening of learning institutions across the country has presented an opportunity for street hawkers to expand their businesses, for unemployed youth to open small businesses on the sidelines of these institutions. However, they are often disorganised and their temporary structures scattered all over their area of operation, forcing the merciless council officials to intervene.  The time has come for government to set up a department that will monitor and advise on what should be done to help the informal sector. As the private media has a right to the advertising cake, and like any other business needs to participate in government business, it is our hope that the ill-advised advertising ban will be lifted.

Today’s thought

“Do you know that one of the great problems

of our age is that we are governed by people

who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”


- Margaret Thatcher

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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