National Budget is election budget: Likukela

28 Mar 2019 20:40pm
WINDHOEK, 28 MAR (NAMPA) – An economic analyst has termed the 2019/20 National Budget an election budget, as it does not mention Namibia’s long-term aspirations such as the Harambee Prosperity Plan, National Development Plans and Vision 2030. Mally Likukela made this analysis in the capital on Thursday at an event aimed at unpacking the 2019/20 national budget under the auspices of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration.
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein on Wednesday presented the budget statement, which made no reference to any of the country's development master plans.
The N.dollars 60.1 billion budget failed to address the future of the country, Likukela said.
“For me personally, I am failing to see the long-term plans we have set as a country in yesterday’s budget… Maybe Harambee also resigned. But its absence in the budget is a serious alarm. Maybe we are somehow diverging away from Harambee or NDP 5,” the economist explained.
He, however, said was not surprised by the omission of government’s key development strategies on issues of long-term impact as indicated in Harambee, NDP 5 and Vision 2030.
“When we take a snapshot of yesterday’s budget, we agree that it is pro-poor because it focuses on the social sector. We are very happy. And this is in line with an election year, so it’s an election budget,” he said.
Another expert who also presented his views on the budget was Klaus Schade, a research associate with the Economic Association of Namibia who questioned how N.dollars 435 million is allocated to the Presidency.
N.dollars 411.5 million was alloacted to the Presidency in the preceding financial year.
“I am not sure what the justifications are,” he said.
He also questioned why the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry’s budget was revised downwards from N.dollars 2.1 billion to N.dollars 1.9 billion.
He said agriculture is a critical sector and the drop shows a mismatch in the government’s priorities.
“Agriculture could play a very important role in stimulating economic growth. I think there is huge potential that we haven’t tapped into so far,” the researcher said.