Schlettwein responds to budget queries

16 Apr 2019 19:00pm
WINDHOEK, 16 APR (NAMPA) – Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein on Wednesday responded to questions emanating from the N.dollars 60.1 billion he tabled in the National Assembly about three weeks ago.
Responding to a question posed by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani and fellow PDM Member of Parliament Nico Smit on the economic growth baseline outlook, Schlettwein said the outturn of the Preliminary National Accounts of 2018 suggests a softer contraction of the domestic economy at 0,1 per cent as against the estimated contraction of 0,5 per cent estimated in the budget.
“This outturn on the economic activity indicates that the recession had peaked at 0,9 per cent in 2017 and the economy is easing out of the contraction into growth territory,” Schlettwein explained.
The budget seeks to strengthen macroeconomic stability, regain economic growth with jobs and fiscal sustainability through making broad-based youth as well as self-employment consideration priority.
The National Youth Council (NYC) will receive N.dollars 24.5 million for the 2019/2020 financial year; N.dollars 15 million for youth entrepreneurship and N.dollars 9.5 million for youth employment and self-employment.
From Schlettwein’s responses it remains unclear how Government plans to create jobs through the allocation made to NYC.
In his statement he also touched on how the government intends to reform the public enterprises, noting the Public Enterprises Governance Bill has been finalised and passed into law which will see it address governance and operation inefficiencies.
The passed bill transfers parastatals’ budget overreliance to a commercial and own revenue generating space, he added.
“For the first time, the government proposes to shed a portion of its asset base in MTC and utilise the sale of the shares to funding capital projects without having to take up equivalent public debt,” Schlettwein mentioned.
Responding to All People’s Party (APP) representative Reinhold Nauyoma’s question regarding the financially crippled Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSEMAS), Schlettwein answered that the members’ contribution have been increased only once since Independence.
“This non-increase is not withstanding the annual increases in medical costs which have been above inflation. Leaving the scheme unchanged will lead to the scheme becoming unsustainable,” Schlettwein emphasised.