Calle’s clarion call valid

FINANCE Minister, Calle Schlettwein’s acknowledgement that government is at a fiscal crossroad and that everyone should help the government to reboot the economy is a sign of inclusive governance that is positive for our national growth endeavours.

Showcasing a refreshing spirit of openness and frankness, Schlettwein this week publicly said that government is indeed facing serious challenges in mobilising the financial resources needed to maintain adequate and quality public services to Namibians.

He also acknowledged that government has no space left for increased borrowing and due to the depressed domestic market there is limited potential for increased domestic revenues.

Essentially and indeed it is time for authorities to listen to all Namibians as the solutions to this economic impasse are not solely the prerogative of Government policy makers.

In the same vein, we as a country need to learn to do more with less and as Schlettwein rightfully says, those in public service, now more than ever need to start using public funds to create maximum impact in terms of service delivery, encouraging economic growth, and, maintaining stability, peace and prosperity for all Namibians.

At this juncture and despite Schlettwein rightful call for a progressive interrogation of issues affecting our economy, we are of the view that the Minister should be applauded for progressing towards strengthening macro-fiscal frameworks and rebuilding the fiscal space as Namibia’s prime leeway to enhance national investment credit ratings strength, creditworthiness and national competitiveness as an attractive destination for investment.

Schlettwein’s astute introduction of a new culture of financial prudence in the public sector has provided a glimmer of hope to a perilous situation that confronted the public purse not so long ago and suggests a restoration of economic confidence.

Notably and from self-realisation, government has already pledged that the culture of doing more with less, affordability and stringent prioritization is expected to be the norm than an exception during the next MTEF. This is also done with the knowledge that reigning in expenditure has reached its optimal level and any further spending cuts would pose a significant risk on effective public service delivery.

We believe that the consolidation framework has the objective of placing national public finances on a sound, prudent and sustainable path. It is a balanced consolidation adjustment, with a supportive policy package to enhance efficiencies and quality of spending and cushion the adverse impact of expenditure cuts on growth and service delivery.

Therefore government was also right to free up close to N$1 billion from the development budget for re-allocation to alternative priority programmes within the appropriated expenditure ceiling in a bid to enable optimal provision of services in areas where shortfalls are anticipated and to achieve enhanced development outcomes.

Conclusively, achieving shared goals and fiscal sustainability is a collective responsibility and retaining fiscal sovereignty is not a matter of choice. The Minister of Finance has already reiterated that consolidation will stay and therefore it is now up to individuals and the private sector to stimulate economic growth through disruptive innovation.