Budget deficit stalling Govt development projects: Smit

08 Nov 2018 19:10pm
WINDHOEK, 08 NOV (NAMPA) – Namibia’s quest to address inequality and eradicate poverty will be meaningless in the current economic environment, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament, Nico Smit has said.
Smit, in a speech in Parliament on Wednesday on the recent Mid-Term Budget Review, said all these aspirations are stalling as the budget deficit becomes too high.
He said the civil service, which he described as “bloated and unproductive”, has been devouring half of the state’s resources, while national debt continues to rise.
The PDM MP said a plethora of obsolete state-owned enterprises' continue to drain the economy’s lifeblood while not adding anything to growth and not fulfilling any function that benefits the economy.
“We have come to the point where we over-regulate the economy, pay exorbitant salaries to more than 80 boards ostensibly to oversee the multitude of government agencies, with no tangible results, no contribution to economic activity, and no regard for the pillars of the economy,” he said.
Smit said the country ranked poorly in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index, which he noted is an indication of the extent to which the economy has been “strangled with red tape and an army of civil servants who do not add one cent to the prosperity of the private sector.”
“We have created an agency, supposedly as a one-stop shop for all statutory matters pertaining to businesses. Yet the Business and Intellectual Property Authority is still a paper-based organisation and all applications have to be submitted by hand, in printed format,” he stated.
The MP said this was extensively demonstrated with the application process for fishing rights, where hundreds of Namibian applicants had to go to the BIPA offices in person to hand in documents on paper.
Smit described the entire mid-term budget review process as “a blatant attempt by government at window dressing and a feeble attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the members of this August House in particular, and over the eyes of the Namibian public in general.”
“It is clear from the outset that the Mid-Year Budget Review which has been offered to us as necessary adjustments according to a broad set of priorities, has become the government’s most blatant form of window dressing,” he said.