Schlettwein reigns in spending
Minister of Finance, Hon. Calle Schlettwein is on a quest to reign in spending over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. This was the message when he delivered the mid-year budget review this week, a first for Namibia.
Said Schlettwein, “in the context of declining revenue and a widening budget deficit following an extended period of fiscal consolidation, Government will further reinforce the fiscal consolidation programme over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Thus the policy stance for the MTEF is to; implement a growth friendly consolidated fiscal policy anchored on the calibration of the composition of expenditure; maintain the budget deficit well below 5% of Gross Domestic Product as well as the introduction of alternative forms of revenue.”
Emphasised Schlettwein, “the consolidation programme which Government is undertaking is not just for its own sake, it strikes a balance between reinforcing fiscal stability and supporting economic growth and social development programmes.”
The Ministry of Finance would over the MTEF implement spending cuts of approximately 42% on indicative allocations to nine core expenditure items which would include; materials and supplies, subsistence and travel allowances, transport, overtime as well as vehicles and office equipment and furniture.
Said Schlettwein, “these costs savings measures are expected to realise N$4 billion for the current financial year, at least N$4.11 billion for the 2016/17 financial year and an estimated N$3.81 billion for the 2017/18 financial year.
It is proposed that the identified savings for the current financial year be reallocated to address urgent priority needs and programmes on which resource shortfalls are being experienced.”
Turning his attention to spending priorities over the emptive, he said, “the broader economic and fiscal policy priorities for the next budget and MTEF will be targeted at addressing the macro-fiscal risks both in the economic and social spheres.”
Funding, Schlettwein said would also be geared toward infrastructure projects, notably the rehabilitation of the rail network, the Mass Housing project, the maintenance of old-age grants and a scale-up allocation to the Student Financial Assistance Fund over the MTEF.