BFTU manifesto emphasises on early retirement policy

FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) has recommended that any party that takes over after 2019 general elections should vigorously pursue the early retirement policy.

The winning party should also offer sound incentives so that elderly employees take early retirement in order to create employment opportunities for the youth.

The recommendations are contained in the federation’s manifesto. Corruption and unemployment are some of the topics that form the core of federation’s manifesto, which will be under circulation before the end of the week.

Unemployment most particularly among youth has emerged as the country’s biggest challenge in recent years. The government puts the national unemployment rate at only 17.6 percent nationally while other sources argue that it is around 34 percent.

In fact, the federation is of the view that the Youth Development Fund (YDF) should be entirely redirected to build more attractive early exit packages for adults to exit public service and enter the private sector where they can venture into businesses to create employment opportunities for the youth.

“There is tangible evidence that many youth businesses are failing owing to various factors. Some of them fail because of lack of experience and shortage of more resources such as land and more funding (to grow the businesses) among others. Some of the youth have misused their funding owing to poor monitoring and evaluation of their businesses by the government. That is why we want the YDF to be redirected,” he said.

Butale added that the federation believes that those who leave the public service through the early exit policy are better placed to use their packages to run businesses.

“Our view is that some of those who will leave through the early exit policy will be better placed to run businesses because they have built an extensive network in various areas throughout their working life and have invested on resources such as land that they can use to venture into businesses to create jobs for the youth. We also assume that they are mature enough to handle dynamics of running a business,” he said adding that those who retire early should be encouraged to venture into businesses to create jobs for youth.

In the absence of the YDF, Butale said that the youth who want to venture into business could access other funding opportunities that are well monitored and evaluated.

In the 22-page manifesto, BFTU raised concerns about the problems of corruption and economic crimes that have taken place in the country.

“We have noticed with dismay that some of these acts of corruption and economic crime involve politicians and some members of the executive. In our view these warrant for an urgent review of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to make the body more independent. We want key appointments at the organisation to be made by parliament to ensure its independence.”

For years, the opposition has been pushing the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government to turn the DCEC into an independent body to no avail. The president makes key appointments at DCEC such as that of director general.

The federation also wants the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Act to be reviewed to enable appointments at the agency to be made by parliament and enjoying security of tenure. According to Butale such approach will also ensure independence of the agency.

Butale indicated that the manifesto seeks to promote discourse on matters of national interest. Furthermore BFTU has strongly highlighted that the manifesto will not influence its members or Batswana to support certain individuals at the next general elections.

“We remain apolitical. Our manifesto only feature things that we believe our members and Batswana should engage politicians on leading to the general elections. Its aim is to educate and sensitise them on issues that we believe should be urgently addressed by political parties or political leaders. They will still retain the liberty the party or any political leader of their choice based on how they view their response in relation to what we have shared in our manifesto, said BFTU secretary general.

The manifesto has also put forward a few recommendations that seek to encourage political parties and political leaders to embrace SMMES and view them among the key players in the economy of the country because they have often been ignored.

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