Dr Thambo Gina, the outgoing Minister of Economic Planning and Development made a purely political statement, during the official opening of a High-level Roundtable Meeting on the United Nations(UN) Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) Rescue Plan.
Eswatini must demonstrate practical commitment to achieve the UN SDGs particularly, on issues of poverty and economic development instead of making mere hypocritical statements that seeks to misled even diplomats.
The outgoing Economic Planning Minister uttered an outright lie before diplomats and other stakeholders on Tuesday, there’s absolutely no convincing action plan or agenda by the eSwatini government that seeks to, among others, eradicate poverty and improve the lives of the people.
As a result, the agenda to ensure that emaSwati continue to languish in poverty was gazetted into ‘law’, some workers in this country are paid a mere One Thousand, one hundred Rands(R1,100) and this, is almost equivalent to $60.00 per-month.
The gazettes allowing foreign investors and local businesses to underpay workers was prepared and signed for, by the very same government that claims to be committed in fighting poverty.
But,we cannot entirely blame the local businesses, some of these companies are struggling as the revenue authority continues to manipulate the law, impose questionable penalties and subsequently grab everything from their bank accounts.
The taxes are not used to improve the lives of the people but, to sustain King Mswati’s lavish lifestyle and/or for the benefit of those close to him.
It then goes back to the State machinery and its political agenda, to ensure that citizens remain poor to induce submission and loyalty to the current regime.
As if this is not enough, salaries for civil servants have been stagnant for over ten(10) years and this, has affected even local business activities by reducing the buying power.
It should be noted that, you cannot eradicate poverty and enhance economic growth by pushing citizens deeper into poverty, working for this government as a civil servant these days is more like kuhlehla(working for free), the money only appears in the payslip with questionable deductions.
The private sector is also systematically encouraged to underpay workers and as mentioned, some of these companies are struggling, in a country where, only the powerful and politically connected have access to lucrative tenders.
The richer are becoming more richer while the poor are sinking deeper into poverty, this is happening in a country with enough minerals and other natural resources to sustain the whole population.
Graduates are frustrated with no sustainable jobs and those who were lucky to get employed, are sinking in debts, perhaps, due to the systematic State machinery to ensure that citizens are poor.
In conclusion, let me state categorically that, under the current Tinkhundla regime, there’s absolutely no agenda to fight poverty.
The only existing agenda is to ensure that emaSwati are more poorer so that they can appreciate even a meal to vote for their oppressors.
Economic Planning Minister Dr Thambo Gina.