The vice president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Dumelang Saleshando has punched holes on the Ipelegeng programme, saying it useless and wasteful as it bleeds the economy. Saleshando who is also Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader said the country’s economy is on sick bed due to Ipelegeng which has failed to create sustainable jobs but rather making massive losses. He made the remarks during the launch of Tlokweng parliamentary candidate, Masego Segokgo last week Sunday reiterating that Ipelegeng has gobbled over P1 billion in the last 10 years. “I never got to understand this so called wasteful Ipelegeng initiative and I will never come to get what its intended purpose. We have spoken about how this BDP programme is being a waste of finances that could have been used in a better way. It is not anyhow good for the future of the economy,” he said.
Ipelegeng is one of the popularized BDP’s economic legacy policies alongside other projects such as the defunct multi-billion pula Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) launched back in 2016. The Ipelegeng programme was has also been dismissed by Tati West legislator Biggie Butale while he was still Assistant Minister of Health and Wellness, saying it is outlived cosmetic imitative. He singled out the program together with Youth Development Fund (YDF) to be wasteful while he was responding to the budget speech in parliament in February breaking ranks with his colleagues in BDP back then.
Not mincing words, the Maun West parliamentary candidate (Saleshando) said Ipelegeng initiative needs to be scrapped off before it makes the government purse or coffers dry arguing it is so irrelevant. “BDP government thinks Ipelegeng is a solution to unemployment but in the long term it is not going to catch with the expectations of the economy. It is very cheap copy and paste program,” said Saleshando.
The BDP answer to rampant high unemployment says it is not convincing as lot of funds are being pumped into shoddy programs whilst on a long term unemployment continue to rise. Saleshando went on to indicate that should UDC be voted to power in October, the party intends to scrap off the outdated Ipelegeng replacing it with the Public Works programme. He said the proposed UDC’s labour intensive public works programme entails generation of jobs from fostering development of community projects such as roads to pay a sustainable income.
Further, he blamed President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi for poor budgeting with regards to the implementation of the Ntlole salary adjustments for the disciplined forces public servants.
UDC vice president argues that Ntlole was ill planned from the onset indicating that it wasn’t useful to make such big salary adjustments warning that it might result in having huge deficit.
Living wage possible
With regards to the much debated UDC P 3 000 living wage, Saleshando said there is no way the introduction of P 3 000 monthly living wage can collapse the economy as per BDP views.
He maintains that the living wage will ensure that there is more economic empowerment, as people will be able to earn better salaries opening doors for more taxpayers on board too. “How can increasing people ‘salaries lead to economy collapsing? This is just a nightmare by president Masisi and his BDP folks. The more people are paid will ensure that there is increase in number of tax revenues and this money will be used for steering economic developments that will create more jobs as well,” he added.
He says that the pronouncement by ruling party that the living wage is likely to collapse the economy is a clear sign that the democrats are truly poor economics students or analysts.
UDC parliamentary candidate, Masego Segokgo said the party’s target of creating 100 000 jobs is attainable as this will be done amongst through reducing teacher student ratio that is high.