Finalising the 2020/2021 maiden budget by the newly appointed finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi and the cadre of financial technocrats at the ministry of finance was not an easy task when government revenues shrunk in the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Projected expenditure for this year’s budget tabled before the National Assembly is an astronomical N$72.8 billion of which the ministry of education – a key sector- was allocated a huge chunk of the projected revenue.
The fact that the education starting from primary schooling, secondary, vocational training and universities led the pack in terms of budgetary allocations is clearly indicative of how serious our government regards investing heavily in the importance of educating the nation which is praiseworthy.
It is a proven fact that by giving children a quality education will go a long way to help eradicate poverty, promote peace and foster much-needed development. And according to Global Partnership for Education a child whose mother can read is 50 percent more likely to live past the age of five.
When a nation neglects education and spends less on educating its citizens this is usually a recipe for disaster and resultant poverty that begets a vicious circle of poverty that breed all sorts of social ills such as a high crime, hooliganism and the whole lot of societal ills.
Experts tell us that 420 million people globally would be lifted out of poverty merely with a quality secondary education, but when a nation educates its youth this leads to prosperity and a brighter future for all. By allocating the ministry of health one of the largest budgets this should also be looked in hindsight of the pandemic that has put our fiscus under enormous pressure as social distancing and putting under quarantine those infected with Covid-19 or suspected of being potential carriers of the virus does not come cheap. Implementing a raft of measures to ensure the Covid-19 does not spread further does not come cheap and Namibia cannot rest on its laurels by underfunding its health sector.
This pandemic has put the health sector under tremendous pressure. Because screening, buying hand sanitisers and respirators among other essentials needed by health does not come cheap. Namibia is part of the global community and when other countries cough Namibia also coughs.
Like other countries has seen tens of thousands of workers being retrenched in the tourism, the hospitality and many other sectors.
The lockdown rules and the state of emergence minimised the number of tourist visiting our shores and this deprived our country of one major revenue source.
According the finance minister trade disruptions will result in a decrease of about 32.8 percent decline in value added tax collections while supply-side and production disruptions will see a decrease of more than 20 percent in individual income tax collections which is a major setback.
One commendable aspect of the budget given the highly challenging economic landscape no new taxes will be introduced.
This is commendable considering Covid-19 upended the economic and social order.
2020-05-29 10:09:30 | 1 months ago