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Odds Stacked Against Winning Unemployment Fight

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Odds Stacked Against Winning Unemployment Fight
The Parliament’s Finance and Estimates Committee says while government has committed to empowering its citizens, especially the youth, there is an inadequacy of measures in place to fight unemployment.

The committee indicated in its recent report that it is concerned with the high level of unemployment, especially amongst youths. According to the Quarterly Multi-Topic Household Survey, the unemployment rate for the quarter ending December 2020 was estimated at 24.5%.

Although the government has committed to implementing several Youth Empowerment Schemes including Tertiary Education Financing at P2.26 billion, the National Service Scheme at P135.72 million, and Youth Development Fund at P104 million, and Internship Programme at P98.83 million, the committee is, however, concerned that there is no emphasis on vocational and technical training as key strategies to address unemployment. “The committee has observed that other jurisdictions have introduced Youth Employment Tax Incentives intending to encourage businesses and companies to create employment opportunities for the youth,” read part of the committee’s report.

The committee also indicated that joblessness, poverty levels and inequality are rising. It warned that in the long-run increase in income inequities not only raise social and political concerns but also economic ones.

“It tends to drag down the GDP growth, due to the rising distance of the lower segment of the population from the rest of society.”

The committee said recent efforts

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to support the Small Micro-Medium Entreprises (SMMEs) sector through financial advances by Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), National Development Bank (NDB) and others are commendable as the sector plays a big role in facilitating economic participation by most especially the unemployed, lower-income citizens and youth. Despite these efforts, the committee said there is more that can still be done to grow this sector into an economic pillar and generate employment, further suggesting that the regulatory and procurement processes must be supportive of this sector for it to reach its full potential and greater socio- economic inclusion.  The Finance and Estimates Committee has been established under Standing Order 106 of the National Assembly of Botswana. Its mandate is to examine whether the funds are well allocated within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates and consider and recommend for approval or otherwise all proposals by the government entailing Supplementary expenditure from public funds requiring the sanction of Parliament. The committee is chaired by Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo. Other members include Wynter Mmolotsi, Tshekedi Khama, Liakat Kablay, Oabile Regoeng, Kesitegile Gobotswang and Tumisang Healy.



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