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On the 100, 000 jobs in 12 months

KGOSIETSILE NGAKAAGAE
Forget the living wage. I have said before that that is all nonsensical sloganeering. There would be living wage after the living wage because people would be in the streets retrenched.

There would be more poverty and more suffering. A seasonable, incentivised adjustment of the minimum wage would be more realistic.

And then there is the twin Umbrella for tipobet Democratic Change (UDC) issue of the one 100, 000 jobs in 12 months.

Sounds all good, doesn’t it. But then what is it really? Is it just a subtype of the modern day fire church prosperity gospel intended to pull wool over the eyes of voters? Is it really practical?

To be sure, it is surely possible to make a whole lot of jobs in the same period. It is as easy as Idi Amin printing more money to cap a shortfall.

For starters you can convert all Ipelegeng jobs into full time jobs and pay each worker P3, 000. Forget what they will be doing.

We are talking Santa Claus job creation here. You see, I run a small legal outfit employing about 12 people in all. I can well increase the number to 50 or a 100. But can I pay them? No.

True. There are vacancies in the civil service that have remained unfilled for years for which financial provision is extent.

A handful jobs can be created if we would care to be innovative and to make the best of what we already have.

True again; if we can recover the billions stolen by the glorified untouchable, we might just make more jobs.

But is there a genuine effort to do so? No. Just a frantic PR effort at the expense of Kenneth Kerekang and Bakang Seretse.

How do you explain prosecuting someone for a documented payment of P40 million while those who allegedly took P210 million remain untouched?

How do you explain that there is no one in the dock for P600 million blown up in a massively fraudulent e-governance project?

How do you explain the leaking government pockets at Bank of Botswana (BoB)? Buy the way, don’t be fooled with all the English from BoB and the press statements. It is true that there has been rapine at BoB.

When the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigated the rapine years back, the investigating team was persecuted and disbanded. Some were even prosecuted under false charges.

Spies were then deployed to the DCEC in good numbers. Maybe this time around, there will be a spirited investigation into the BOB accounts at that bank.

The so called unreconciled accounts are in fact a trail of rapine. The Nigerian government pursued the more than $600 million stolen by Sani Abacha and his cronies and ended up striking a deal with the Abacha family for

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the recovery of the monies.

Maybe we need the same approach with regards to what we have lost. That is, if the money has not been spent of fine whisky and prostitutes.

Back to the jobs.  I do say that jobs can be created purely through enhanced efficiencies. But a 100, 000 in 12 is utopian? I have asked the proponents of the jobs slogan on the capital outlay for the project and the sources. Jobs mean money. I have asked them to fit the whole narrative into a measurable economic plan capable of expert interpretation and analysis.

Maybe some of us, naysayers might just be swayed. There is a danger in making such lofty and reckless promises. The danger is in the fact that each vote will in fact be a job application with a guarantee for employment.

In a bid to live up to the promises, the UDC might just have to blow away all the reserves in a frantic and reckless spending jamboree intended to redeem what was essentially no more than a political slogan.

For a 100, 000 jobs in five years, I would likely give a party the benefit of the doubt. For a 100, 000 jobs in 12 months I can only tell someone to go and milk chickens.

There seems to be a rather interesting tension in our political dynamics. The ruling party is targeting the workers with bo-ntlole and flooding the job market with public funds.

One can only hope that they have done their Maths. The opposition are, on the other hand, targeting the unemployed with promises of a living wage and a 100, 000 jobs. The two are essentially campaigning in two different constituencies.

It is indeed justified for the opposition to target the unemployed. These are the people the ruling party has miserably failed to assist.

One newspaper reported at some point that there were more than  87, 000 unemployed graduates. The one 100, 000 jobs figure seems to have been arrived at with that constituency in mind.

But jobs must create money and not rely on government subvention. Otherwise, workers will live on the economy and ultimately collapse it. How will these jobs give returns on investment?

I am aware that the opposition, UDC, will be in Maun over the weekend to launch their manifesto. I hope more is said on the 100, 000 jobs in 12 months and that the whole narrative is brought within the realm of economic reality.

More than anything, I hope they can tell us that at least 80% of that will be private sector jobs.



Chief On Friday

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