WINDHOEK – Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein has come out in full support of the new public procurement dispensation which has been crafted to increase transparency and accountability. The Public Procurement Act, which came into effect April 1, 2017, includes measures to boost local economic development by giving due regard to local sourcing with positive spinoffs local productive capacity and job creation. The new procurement legislation has been criticised by some for delaying the execution of certain projects.
“It’s worth noting that over the past year, total government spending amounted to N$67.6 billion, the highest spending rate to date, and total revenue outturn of N$57.9 billion was about two percent better than budget revenue. This level of spending enhances jobs as reflected in the rebound of the construction sector and recovery in domestic demand as mirrored in the growth in the Wholesale and Retail sectors. With the development budget execution rate for FY2017/18 estimated at 96 percent, the argument that public procurement framework impedes project execution is not empirically valid,” said Schlettwein during a media briefing at his ministry on Monday.
Schlettwein added that the Preliminary National Accounts brought about the evidence that total nominal Gross Domestic Products (GDP) is about 3.3 percent better than the budget, which supports the fiscal ratios. As such, the budget deficit for FY2017/18 remained more or less at the budgeted level of 5.4 percent and total debt at about 40.4 percent. The debt level of about 40.4 percent is in line with the median of the investment grade rating of about 42 percent of GDP for Middle Income Countries of the size of Namibia.
In respect of the current budget, total budget execution to date, including spending commitments and statutory expenditure stands at 23.8 percent of the total appropriation, with tax revenue collection, including SACU flows, standing at about 31.8 percent of the projected budget revenue.
“We anticipate revenue to perform in line with budget estimates or even better, given a better baseline outcome over the previous year. Let me however state that spending discipline should at all times be maintained across all Offices/Ministries and Agencies in order to realise the intended outcomes of a pro-growth fiscal consolidation program. Treasury has noted with concern the growing expectations for more resources to be allocated. We should all guard against over-commitment of the budget as appropriated,” said Schlettwein.