Botswana: IMF orders Botswana to cut wage bill
IMF orders Botswana to cut wage bill
Gaborone - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged Botswana's government to cut its wage bill, as public workers are staging a seven-week strike to demand an increase.
"Botswana government needs to reduce the size of the wage bill as a share of GDP as this remains rather high relative to comparator countries and is not sustainable," an IMF mission said in a statement.
"Reducing the wage bill would also require efforts to make the public service leaner and more efficient."
Botswana has more than 100 000 public service workers for a population of nearly two million.
Workers have been on strike since April 18 to demand a 16% wage hike, after a three-year freeze on salaries blamed on the global economic crisis.
Unions this week accepted a three percent increase, but the strike is still running as workers demand the reinstatement of medical staff sacked over the stay away.
The strike has disrupted services and shut down schools and health facilities in the sparsely populated diamond-producing country.
Last week President Ian Khama said the country could not afford a double-digit increase, as the economy was still recovering from a downturn.
The IMF mission also urged Botswana to diversify the economy and not rely on the diamond industry, which government also sees as a priority.
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