The state of the economy is in a perilous state and failing to meet the expectations of its stakeholders, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader said on Wednesday in response to President Ian Khama’s State of the Nation Address.
Duma Boko faulted this on Khama’s appointment of “incompetent people” to positions of leadership and responsibility. “The president does not get it. When you lose sight of merit and appoint people to positions of leadership and responsibility, expect productivity, competitiveness, growth and jobs to suffer,” he said.
He said these problems lie at the core of failure to transition from a resource driven economy to a diversified and efficiency driven economy.
“Why did Rwanda continue growing at seven percent per annum through the 2009 recession? The answer is simple. They have a solid efficiency driven economy. High regulatory efficiency and quality and government efficiency are critical components of their growth and development strategy,” said Boko.
He accused the government of being “tone deaf” to the persistent pleas of business for reduction of the regulatory burden on business and greater policy clarity, consistency and certainty. Instead, he said the government watches passively as regulation becomes more and more rent seeking. “No responsible government will allow civil servants to do business. Yet that is exactly what this government has decided to do in the face of evidence on increasing rent seeking behaviour,” argued Boko adding that it could serve better if civil servants were paid well and keep out of business.
In 2013 the government issued a directive that civil servants will be allowed to engage in businesses outside their everyday work. Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) responded by saying this will open the backdoor to corruption.