Trade Ministry's budget slashed by N.dollars 227 million

23 Apr 2018 12:40pm
WINDHOEK, 23 APR (NAMPA) - The budget allocation for the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development has been cut by N.dollars 227 million for the 2018/19 financial year.
In his budget motivation in the National Assembly last week, Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Tjekero Tweya said the ministry's budget for operational expenditure stands at N.dollars 192 778 000, while that for development is N.dollars 155 million.
The N.dollars 347 778 000 budget allocation represents an overall decrease of N.dollars 227 412 000 from the previous financial year’s N.dollars 635 219 000.
The ministry was dealt a further blow when its budget for capital projects was reduced by N.dollars 82.9 million.
These cuts will severely impact the ministry's overall performance, Tweya said.
“There are zero allocations for very critical operational areas, including support services to the small and medium enterprises and all commercial offices and State-owned enterprises resorting under the ministry,” he said.
The minister said this will “undoubtedly lead to a dysfunctional ministry, SOEs and commercial offices.”
Tweya said the operational budget is only enough to cater for seven activities, including Southern African Development Community (SADC) meetings and summit (N.dollars 50 million); the integrated client service project (N.dollars 20 million); remuneration (N.dollars 86 672 000); utilities (N.dollars 5 362 800) and maintenance (N.dollars 800 000).
Other operational expenses of the ministry include N.dollars 3 600 000 for security contracts and N.dollars 26 342 820 for SADC membership fees.
Tweya further stated that Namibia is losing out on employment opportunities and foreign earnings because the country’s charcoal is exported to South Africa for further value addition.
To address this, Government is contemplating acquiring land to set up a charcoal training and production research centre to produce top quality charcoal and charcoal by-products for the export market.
The research component of the centre will explore best practices and other uses for charcoal.
“The ministry has therefore identified the need to support the industry in the adoption and use of new technology with a key focus on entrepreneurship development, job creation and income generation,” Tweya said.
There are also plans to establish a tomato paste production plant at a location in the Omusati Region that is still to be identified.
The ministry is currently constructing industrial parks at Omaruru, Opuwo, Tsumeb, Outapi and Divundu; fencing off a site at Katima Mulilo and working on a thatch hub at Rundu and an automotive hub at Walvis Bay.
The Namibia Development Corporation has also constructed 49 SME and industrial parks throughout the country, which accommodate at least 676 business operators.
These operators have created 5 088 permanent jobs while during their construction phase, around 7 277 temporary jobs were created.