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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 12 of 2011
16/06/11

Experts applaud Botswana's Economic Management 

H.E. the President returned to Botswana on Saturday amid reports that the five public service workers unions affiliated to BOFEPUSU had decided to suspend their strike. This positive development was confirmed the following day in a meeting between the unions' representatives and the DPSM.

Government welcomed the union's decision, while reminding those essential services workers who were dismissed for defying the Industrial Court's order of the need for them to apply for re-employment with DPSM, further reaffirming that all such applications would be expeditiously attended to.

On Monday morning, His Excellency was briefed by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, and others on matters relating to the strike.

In the aftermath of the strike's suspension, Government appreciates the fact that the majority of public service workers remained on duty during the period, while the majority of those who did go on strike remained law abiding. The Botswana Police Service has received praise for its professional conduct in upholding public order and safety. 

The suspension of the strike coincided with an announcement by Moody's Investor Services that, notwithstanding our current economic difficulties, Botswana would once more retain the highest credit rating in Africa.

Moody's specifically endorsed Government's refusal to give into unsustainable wage demands, while still facing a budget deficit, as evidence of sound executive leadership, noting that Government's continued commitment to the prudent economic management should ensure long term recovery and growth - "it signals to us that the Government is very serious about its budget strategy, the easy thing would be to give in."

Echoing similar recent findings by the IMF and Standard and Poor's, Moody's further observed that while Botswana's economy has been especially hard hit by the global economic downturn it has now "bounced back".

The views of international market observers about our country's prospects are generally consistent with the expert analysis of our own Bank of Botswana, which on Tuesday hosted the President and members of Cabinet for its annual briefing.

In a subsequent statement, the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee announced that it had decided to maintain its Bank Rate at 9.5 percent.
The statement observed that while the medium term outlook for inflation continued to be positive, it was currently being pushed upwards by increased fuel and electricity costs.

The Bank further observed that while both domestic and global economic recovery appears sustainable, growth around the world currently remains sluggish, uneven and vulnerable to events, such as the recent calamities in Japan and unrest in the Middle East.

 

During the week, the President also received a detailed briefing from the Department of Youth on the ongoing progress of its various youth empowerment initiatives such as the Youth Development Fund, Young Farmers Fund and Youth Exchange and Exposition Programmes, which were given additional impetus in the aftermath of last year's Youth Pitso.

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, His Excellency was in the Letlhakeng West Constituency were he consulted with people and addressed
dikgotla at Motokwe, Salajwe,   and Tsetseng.

Today the President's schedule includes a farewell courtesy call by the outgoing Canadian High Commissioner.

OP has also acknowledged US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillery Clibnton's renewed praise of our country as a benchmark of democracy and good governance, in her Monday address at the African Union in Addis Ababa.
Her remarks are further evidence of the continued good name our country enjoys among international political as well as economic observers, notwithstanding the efforts of a few to undermine our reputation.

We are, of course, now all looking forward to next weekend's scheduled Gaborone visit by US First lady Michelle Obama.

H.H. the Vice President

The President's return from the USA coincided with H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe's, departure for Guateng, where he led the Botswana delegation at two consecutive Summits, which were held there over the weekend.

On Saturday, His Honour attended an Extraordinary SADC Summit, which has been convened to receive and consider a report on the political situation in Zimbabwe by the SADC mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, as well as to further consider the unresolved political conflict in Madagascar.

Speaking to journalists, the Vice President noted that the political impasse in Zimbabwe was hampering regional efforts to achieve greater economic integration. He further stressed that before any elections were held in Zimbabwe there was a need for proper mechanism to be first put in place to ensure that the poll would be free, fair and peaceful. With respect to Madagascar he reaffirmed Botswana's position that any solution to conflict must be inclusive of all of the principle parties.


On Sunday, His Honour attended the 2nd Comesa-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit of Heads of State and Government, which reported good progress on the establishment of a Free Trade Area for Southern and Eastern Africa. As a reflection of our own commitment to greater regional cooperation, His Honour was joined by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Trade and Industry and Finance and Development Planning

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