- Finance Minister says King called on all emaSwati to constructively engage in dialogue, within constitution framework
Mbabane – Government has set aside a budget of E22 million for the much-awaited Sibaya National Dialogue. The news was announced by Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg when he delivered the 2022 Budget Speech in Parliament.
Minister Rijkenberg said, “His Majesty has called on all EmaSwati to constructively engage in dialogue, within the framework provided by our Constitution and Sibaya, which is the ultimate consultative and decision-making forum of all emaSwati. As our society and economic activity resumes post COVID-19, the nation now has the opportunity for this dialogue to resume..
Rijkenberg said the theme of this year’s Budget Speech is ‘transformation through economic sustainability’. He said the work that is being done to transform the governance and financial position is starting to bear fruit and they are embarking on a more sustainable path as an economy, as they continue to build on the progress made over the past three years. The minister said it is hard work and they believe there are no magic solutions but by addressing leakages and fixing economic policies that have failed over years of misuse and inefficiency, they will see the economy, and the welfare of their nation, thrive.
He added, “We should also celebrate our successes, provide a clear and sustainable fiscal path forward and create hope for our collective future as a united nation. This administration inherited a failing economy coming from a weak fiscal position and the year 2022/23 will unfortunately be another tough year for us as we continue on our fiscal consolidation path. We have successfully addressed a number of critical issues. Government spending has improved through the restructuring of the CTA, the Phalala Fund has been refocused on growing local domestic capacity to address healthcare so that we can reduce our dependence on this fund, we have also started to issue lump sum contracts instead of re-measurable contractors on our capital projects.”
He further highlighted, “We continue to prioritize the repayment of arrears. We are reducing our dependence on debt and are now approaching a sustainable path. On the recommendation of the International Monetary Fund, we have tightened financial controls to ensure ministries do not overspend on their approved budgets. Our current economic and social realities bring into sharp focus what we need to achieve in order to build the country and society that we all strive for. We acknowledge where we are failing as a government, we need to honestly assess the resources at our disposal and we need to urgently prioritize how those resources are allocated.”
The minister said they recognize that they could have done better. Due to sustained lack of maintenance, and unseasonably high rainfall, roads are now in a critical state. Sufficient job opportunities have not been provided for the youth and we have continued to experience a shortage of medicines in clinics and hospitals. He said they are not delivering an education sufficient to prepare future generations for the task at hand and general service delivery needs radical improvement, if they are to continue to build towards the vision of a First World and developed country.
Discussion about this post