Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein says Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are an excellent opportunity for the development of the Namibian economy. Speaking at the finance ministry’s annual staff meeting last week, Schlettwein said PPPs can help provide better public services through improved operational efficiency.
According to the finance minister, the public sector provides incentives to the private sector to deliver projects on time and within budget. Also, creating economic diversification makes the country more competitive in facilitating its infrastructure base and boosting associated construction, equipment, support services, and other businesses.
“Better infrastructure, housing and more are all opportunities that lend themselves for PPP. There is a lot to be done with the PPPs,” said Schlettwein.
The minister further emphasised that government officials should refrain from using budget cuts as an excuse for failed service. He said many leaders mistakenly use the term budget cuts but clarified that in most cases the respective budgets have been very stable over the last three years.
“What they mean is that they did not get what they asked for. But that is not a budget cut. The ministry did not cut but we also did not give what was asked. I do agree with the prime minister when she said the excuse of budget cuts for failure should not be tolerated. We have to be serious when we say we must do more with less. More efficiency gains are needed,” he said.
Schlettwein noted that 2019 was an extremely tough year because of the severe drought that affected the agricultural sector and its supply chains quite significantly. This resulted in a significant decline in the agricultural sector. In addition, a number of factors led to a decline in the mining sector.
“The production in the diamond sector was reduced very significantly because of one of the vessels that was withdrawn for maintenance purposes and also price pressure on diamonds. Those two events may not be once-off events and are not repetitive,” said Schlettwein.
He, however, said the government’s consolidation policy, with its pro-growth focus, still delivered stability and delivered a workable budget as it was appropriated.
He further noted that Namibia’s ratio of debt-to-GDP increased. “Where we anticipated starting this year with a debt level of 49%, it is now at 52% and that remains an issue we have to tackle as government”.
In terms of revenue, Schlettwein said the country delivered what was anticipated and no major increases or decreases were experienced. “The economy has limited space to improve revenue collection from additional taxes.
As policy stance, taxes need to be collected more efficiently and an increase in taxes should come from better compliances rather than additional taxes,” Schlettwein concluded.
2020-02-25 07:48:03 | 4 months ago