In solidarity with BURS workers

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As Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) workers strike enters the second week, the nation as usual awaits the government’s intervention on a crisis slowly crippling Botswana’s second revenue puller after minerals sector.

Customs and Exercise as a sector alone contributed P15.97 billion or 31.8 percent to the total revenue and grants in 2014/15 and projected to contribute 29.5 percent or P15.3 billion in 2015/16. Second only after minerals sector projected to contribute 34.4 percent or P19.03 billion.

For the second week, Botswana border posts are not operational, businesses are not being serviced inclusive of meeting payment deadlines, taxes are not collected due to BURS workers industrial action as elaborated by Director General of BURS during interviews in different media houses. In any country, absence from duty by 80 percent of national customs and exercise service centre workers is a national crisis that dictates a response by the Minister responsible due to massive loss of revenue and great inconvenience to locals and internationals seeking service across the country. But this is Botswana, where the elected are masters of the electorates, where the ruling elite does its business without due care to the aspirations and expectations of the society. The strike is on its second week and the Minister responsible is roaming around Gaborone in his black BMW . The end result will be significant reduction to the projected growth of P16.3 billion in a volatile and unpredictable local and global economic outlook. The trickledown effect of the fourteen days strike will affect Batswana in terms of trimming developmental projects and services regardless of where you are in the country. The country has not recovered from the devastating aftermath of the 2011 Public Service strike which its root cause is very similar to the BURS strike, employers disregard to the basic bargaining process principles of total commitment to a win-win situation and negotiating in good faith. Economic diversification from minerals under the ruling party remains a non-achievable dream which has not only slowed Botswana’s economic growth but also kills morale of the young and upcoming generation of innovative entrepreneurs, leaders, performing artists, workers and sports personnel. BDP government stifles the young generation’s thinking, opportunities and capabilities through unnecessary delays in their everyday line of work. It must be noted that this strike affects the youth, economically and psychologically, more as they cross borders in  huge numbers, and make most of BURS employment.

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