Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

8 March 2013

Namibia: Government Concerned With Expenditure Outcomes

Government has started reviewing the outcomes of public investments in a move designed to optimise spending by the different ministries. Government has in the past two financial years run an expansionary budget aimed at boosting the economy and fighting unemployment, but in a recent interview, Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila said there are concerns that outcomes from the public investments do not reflect the level of expenditure.

The minister said: "We [Government] were concerned that the outcomes that we get from the public investments do not seem to commensurate with the volume of public expenditure therefore we decided to conduct a review in order to track where this money that we allocate to the sectors go."

The minister said the reviews will identify whether funds are going towards targeted areas that will make best use of the funds allocated. The reviews will also identify bottlenecks in the system and recommend remedial action. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added: "If the reviews generate conclusions that funds have not been appropriately targeted or funds are not being efficiently utilised, it would result in a shift in the allocations of funds."

She, however, stressed that were the reviews to show that resources were not being optimally used, the result may not necessarily be a reduction in the allocation to a vote. "It may result in a shift in the way in which the funds are allocated within that sector; it can also result in a reduction in the real increase in the allocation to the sector so that we can use these savings to improve efficiency, so that we can free part of the funds from some existing activities and reinvest them in activities of the same ministry that are more optimal in terms of their impact."

So far, a review has been conducted at the Ministry of Education as the largest recipient of funds under the budget and a review of the ministry of health, the second largest recipient of funds, is expected to follow soon. Results are yet to be published.

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