Let’s get down to work

Let’s get down to work

When the Queen of England delivered the Queen’s Speech 2017 on June 21, exactly 13 days after the June 8 snap election, I was envious of the efficiency and speed at which things appeared to move in the UK.  To me, things in the Mountain Kingdom did not seem to be progressing at an equally fast pace. Perhaps there are very good reasons for this. I don’t know.
Given that we had a head start of five days, I expected that the opening of the Tenth Parliament by His Majesty would be before delivery of the Queen’s Speech 2017.
The Queen’s Speech takes place at the State Opening of Parliament and is used to outline the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming year as well as the policies to be pursued and prioritised by government in the next two years.

I had expected therefore that the 4×4 Government would be first to outline and to present their policies.
I also expected that all cabinet positions would be filled, senators for the Tenth Parliament sworn in, and changes to key positions in government effected and filled with new incumbents to drive the new administration’s policies.

This slower pace concerns me because there is so much work to be done and so many challenges to be dealt with.
If the Government does not immediately get down to work but allows itself to be side-tracked, all the work that should be done during the tenth parliament will not be completed by 2022.
Citizens of the UK already know that for the next two years, Theresa May’s government will try to introduce 27 Bills — to focus on Brexit, the economy, making a fairer country and making a safer and more united UK.

If things had moved at the same pace, we would already have been informed of our own government’s priorities for the short term.
Be that as it may, I hope the 4×4 Government will immediately have policies to restore our place in the international arena as a nation that respects the rule of law, grow the economy, attract investments, reform our education system, ensure workers are paid decent wages and have policies that foster national unity.

I hope that over and above urgently initiating and getting the reforms process started (in a more inclusive manner than the previous Government did), the government should prioritise our reintegration back into the fold of countries that respect and uphold the rule of law.
The seriousness with which the new Government regards and respects the rule of law will be gauged by the urgency and the extent to which the Phumaphi Report recommendations are implemented.

Full implementation will signal that we at last have a government that respects regional and international protocols and perhaps more importantly, upholds good governance and the rule of law.
The Government should also prioritise strengthening the economy. We expect that sooner rather than later, they will take us into confidence how this will be achieved.
Strengthening the economy is critical because without a growing economy, required finances to fund election promises will not be available.
Their plans must result in alternative revenue streams that will sustainably grow the economy.

The government must not rely on donor funding or tax increases as has been the case in the past.
Creating an investor-friendly and investment-conducive environment should be another priority area for the new government.
Domestic investments alone are insufficient to fund our investment backlog. Because of our perpetual state of instability, we are not viewed favourably by the investment community.
The new government must deal with this reality in an environment where other more stable countries in the region compete for the same investor funding.
It’s not going to be easy. But it must be done.

Education should be another big area of focus. That things are not well in the education sector is to state mildly a very serious problem.
We require all our learning institutions to be well funded so that a good education is given to all of this nation’s children.
We don’t want good education to be exclusive only to the children of just the few with the means to send their children to schools in foreign lands.
Hopefully, the 4×4 Government will immediately begin the legislative and policy work that will ensure that this nation’s citizens have the skills they need for the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future.

Our people deserve decent wages for their labour’s work.
Increasing the minimum wage is going to be easier said than done. Forcing companies to raise wages too much could push them out of business and worsen our already serious unemployment situation.

Smart and not populist policies are required to deal with this issue.  We all know how divided we are as a nation. Government must prioritise uniting this country and fostering and strengthening social cohesion and oneness.  The Government must provide the details on how this will be achieved as a matter of urgency.
A Truth and Reconciliation Commission will not be a panacea that will solve all our ills.

Serious thinking needs to go into its construction to ensure proper checks and balances are put in place, to prevent the process being hijacked by criminals determined to cover up their criminality, and to avoid taking accountability for their actions.

There is so much work to be done. We have more poverty, disease, hunger, unemployment than most countries in the world.
We don’t have time to waste. Five years is a short time to bring about meaningful and substantial change in the living conditions of people in a country such as ours. Let’s avoid unnecessary time wasters and get down to work.

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