Shiimi’s N$240m development budget boost

By Hilary Mare

HAVING tabled an appropriation amendment bill totalling N$841.6 million for the 2020/21 financial year, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi has announced the development budget will receive a total of N$240 million freed up from existing internal savings.

The amendment bill consists of N$701.6 million realised from the operational budget and N$140 million from the development budget.

In his midterm budget review this week, Shiimi highlighted that out of the N$701.6 million from the operational budget, N$100 million is proposed for reallocation to the development budget, in addition to the N$140 million realised for reallocation across the budget votes within the development budget.

“For the development budget, internal savings were realised from capital projects with below 10 percent execution rate and projects which have not yet started due to Covid-19 related restrictions during the first six months.

“For the operational budget, internal savings were realised from expenditure items such as Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) given Covid-19 travel restrictions and social distancing measures, goods and services for delayed activities and subsidies and current transfers,” Shiimi explained.

In his budget review, Shiimi went on to express that the proposed reallocation of resources retains the overall expenditure allocation for the 2020/21 financial year unchanged at N$72.8 billion with the reallocations set to meet resource shortfalls for the provision of infrastructure and essential services in the sectors such as basic education, health and social services, water, Home Affairs and Safety and Security, and Electoral Commission of Namibia.

Reallocations

The key revisions done were that the Ministry of Basic Education, Arts and Culture is allocated N$326.4 million, comprising N$200 million for educational infrastructure in addition to the allocation initially frontloaded in the budget and N$126.4 million for personnel related expenditure, the Ministry of Health and Social Services is allocated an additional N$147.6 million for the procurement of pharmaceuticals, Covid-19 related expenditure and the required optimal personnel and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare is allocated an amount of N$157.7 million to strengthen the coverage of social grants.

Apart from this, the Electoral Commission of Namibia is allocated N$50 million for costs related to the conducting of the upcoming Regional and Local Authority elections, the Ministry of Public Enterprises is allocated a total of N$75 million to support the operations of Namibia Wildlife Resort and TransNamib, specifically for the maintenance of the railway, the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Land Reform is allocated N$40 million for expenditure on water infrastructure and the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs is allocated N$22.3 million specifically to meet the funding needs for the Veterans Subvention Programme.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade is allocated N$10.7 million for the Integrated Client Facility and to support the operations of some of the public enterprises under its mandate while the Ministry of Home Affairs, Safety and Security is allocated N$11.9 million for the Visa Sticker Programme.

“To achieve a durable economic recovery and the creation of jobs, the highest priority should be on shifting the economy from a low-growth gear to an inclusive growth pathway which draws more Namibians into mainstream economic activity. At the same time, we exercise due consideration to continue supporting our efforts to combat Covid-19.

“The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement sets out the economic recovery and growth measures and policy priorities which must now be visibly implemented in the short and over the medium term. The private sector is an important partner in this new modus operandi,” further stated Shiimi.