19 October 2017

Swaziland: Swazi Government 'Is Broke'


The Swaziland Government is broke and 'living from hand to mouth', according to an independent newspaper in the kingdom.

It has so little money that it relies on tax revenues to pay bills and this has meant that salaries of public servants have been paid late in recent months.

The Government is taking taxes collected by the Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) and making decisions on how immediately to spend the money.

The Times Sunday reported (16 October 2017) that the SRA collected money daily and deposited it in the government coffers known as the consolidated fund each week.

The newspaper reported Martin Dlamini, Minister of Finance, said a cash flow crisis surfaces when there were extraordinary expenses.

The news of the budget crisis came at the same time it was revealed that senior public servants received an 18.9 pay increase this month. Meanwhile, ordinary public servants have been told by government they will get no increase at all this year.

The Times Sunday also reported fears that the Swazi Government was not remitting public servant subscriptions to cooperatives. Aubrey Sibiya, President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers' Union, told the newspaper that members of the cooperative were being told they could not take out loans because they had not paid subscriptions.

'We suspect that government is not remitting subscriptions,' the Times reported him saying.

On Wednesday (19 October 2017), it was reported the government had borrowed E1.2 billion from the Central Bank of Swaziland.

In September 2017 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that increased government spending in Swaziland resulted in the highest deficit since 2010. It said the outlook for the future of the economy was 'fragile' and that the medium term outlook was 'unsustainable' without policy changes.

It also said the governance of public entities was poor.

The IMF recommended that the government should contain 'the bloated government wage bill', curb non-essential purchases and prioritize capital outlays.


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