- Says budget failed to address widening inequalities
- Dismisses budget as something crafted for Gaborone-based elites
“The budget speech doesn’t reflect how it is friendly to the workers,” the acting president the labour centre, Thatayaone Kesebonye, told journalists at the Hilton Garden Inn in Gaborone lastweek. “It doesn’t offer anything new, particularly to the poor and workers.”
Instead, Kesebonye added, the budget represents the interests of the rich and affluent while showing no reflection on the poor and offering no solutions to unemployed youths and citizens living under the poverty datum line. He slammed Serame’s budget for ignoring deepening levels of inequality in Botswana and how the problem is to be addressed inspite of Botswana ranking among the top three most unequal countries in the world. “Inequality is a problem. Besides poverty, unemployment and corruption, we have a duty as a country to fight inequality,” the unionist asserted and pointed to increases in fuel prices, electricity and water tariffs as illustrations of how the cost of living has become too high for the ordinary Motswana.
Buttressing this, the Deputy Secretary General of BOFEPUSU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, said statistics show that inflation has risen and is projected to average 10 percent in Q1. “The federation is concerned that workers are becoming the working poor,” Motshegwa stated. He said the government should avoid depending on citizens to finance its expenditure by sealing leaks of revenue that are conduits of corruption and dismissed Minister Serame’s budget as something crafted for the Gaborone-based elites. “It is a Gaborone budget detached from reality,” he said.
Motshegwa listed HIV/AIDS, corruption, wastage, mismanagement of funds, COVID-19, poor project implementation, lack of project monitoring and the unemployment “time bomb” as issues that bedevil Botswana but are not given much attention in Serame’s budget.