WINDHOEK - Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein is scheduled to deliver what would probably be one of his most challenging budget speeches on March 13, for the 2019/2020 financial year.
With rating agencies hovering above Namibian shores, Schlettwein faces the daunting task to reassure investors about both prudence and growth prospects.
Last week, rating agency Fitch revised Namibia’s economic outlook from stable to negative while keeping the country’s credit ratings at BB+ for foreign denominations and AA+ for the South African market.
This, Schlettwein said in response, should not affect investors’ confidence in the country.
Analysts would particularly be keen to see if the minister’s budget speech would inspire confidence and tweak the minds of the likes of Fitch whose downward assessment of the country’s growth prospects could affect investors’ confidence.
With job losses rife in the country due to poor economic conditions, scaring away investors would only serve to further grey Schlettwein’s hair.
Apart from rising unemployment, Treasury is also sitting on a myriad of bailout requests from poorly performing public enterprises.
Last week, government had to back a N$500 million loan from the Road Fund Administration (RFA) on behalf of Roads Authority (RA), which is swimming in a pool of unpaid invoices for roads work done.
With the national debt to GDP ratio currently standing at about 43 percent (representing over N$70 billion), the nation would be keen to know how the finance minister intends to arrest the situation, and how government would repay what it owes.
Further compounding the minister’s balancing act is the fact that the ruling party Swapo would, naturally, expect that his speech treads a fine enough line to help the party retain its overwhelming majority in national elections slated for later this year.
2019-02-27 09:54:02 4 months ago