25 Feb 2016 20:10pm
WINDHOEK, 25 FEB (NAMPA) - Namibia has, during the coming financial year, to repay a total of N.dollars 2.96 billion back to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Common Revenue Pool due to the deficit experienced in the pool.
Tabling the National Budget for the 2016/17 financial year in the National Assembly on Thursday, Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein explained revenue for Government during the 2016/17 budget year is projected at N.dollars 57.84 billion, an increase of two per cent over the previous, given the sharp reduction in SACU receipts.
He said for the 2016/17 to 2018/19 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), Government revenue is projected to increase at a moderate pace of about 7,2 per cent to reach N.dollars 69.82 billion by the end of the MTEF or about 27,5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This projected annual growth rate in revenue is lower than the actual average growth of about 14 per cent observed in the last three years due to the projected decline in SACU revenues and an adverse external environment.
The major drag and significant risk of revenue growth is the projected reduction of SACU revenues, on account of lower outlook for the South African economy, Schlettwein said, noting that in the coming financial year continued implementation of domestic tax policy and administrative reform agenda, as well as the industrial development capacity will contribute to increasing the contribution of revenue from own source.
In terms of the regional economic integration agenda, progress has been achieved to unlock gridlocks in reviving the SACU institutional arrangements.
The minister said the meetings of SACU institutional bodies are expected to return to normalcy with the decisive SACU Council retreat scheduled for April this year.
Namibia believes that SACU has an important role to play as the engine of regional integration and industrialisation. We believe that SACU revenues are currently broadly shared in a manner that reflects the realities of the SACU economies.
SACU has five member states Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland. It amongst others serves as an engine for regional integration and development, industrial and economic diversification, the expansion of intra-regional trade and investment, and global competitiveness.
With regard to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Schlettwein said the tripartite Free Trade Agreement between and among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and SADC was launched in June 2015.
The Free Trade Area is an opportunity for unlocking intra-African trade, he said, adding that Namibia thus needs to establish a market share in this greater continental trading arrangement while improving its productive capacity.