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A NATION OF BEGGARS?

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Sir,


If there is one thing that this country will never run out of, it is the number of excellent examples of how best to boost a national economy and improve the livelihoods of its people.


Eswatini has had more experts and consultants telling us how best our country could compete with the rest of the world than all one’s fingers and toes put together.


We know what to do but just won’t do it for unknown reasons. It is rarely as a result of inability to implement because we have the expertise whose advice is selectively applied that it is rendered ineffective if not adopted in its whole form.


We seem to be still heavily reliant on foreign aid to develop our agricultural sector simply because agriculture continues to receive a low percentage of the recommended portion of the national budget.


We have allowed RDAs to crumble, failed to strengthen our farmer training support through extension officers, and basically rendered us a nation of beggars. There have been reports of threats made against families who engage in farming as this would render the area not fit to receive food aid. In short, we have created deliberate poverty, largely through poor allocation of resources. We’ve got our priorities mixed up.


Turning this situation around is highly possible but it needs political will, which means having the right leadership in such a crucial ministry, proper allocation of resources and a well thought of national plan that would bring together the training, funding, proper land allocation and use and protection of this sector from imports.


The country seems to be struggling to get its scholarship and training issues sorted out. We appear to be heading the opposite direction as less pupils are receiving scholarships and the quality of our training institutions is dropping.


M G Shabangu

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