Total government loan guarantees stood at N$11,1 billion, in 2017, according to figures released by the Bank of Namibia this week.
Foreign loan guarantees were at N$9,1 billion, while domestic guarantees stood at N$2 billion.
The total in 2013 was N$4,5 billion - N$3,6 billion in foreign loan guarantees and N$831,9 million in domestic loan guarantees.
Transport and finance sectors accounted for N$3,9 billion in government foreign loan guarantees in 2017.
The figures provided by the Bank of Namibia deputy director of corporate communications Kazembire Zemburuka showed that the foreign loan guarantee figure was four times the domestic loan guarantee figure of N$2 billion recorded in 2017.
"Furthermore, domestic loans guaranteed by the government also rose by N$1,1 billion to N$2 billion during the 2017/18 financial year from N$831,9 million in the 2013/14 financial year," he said.
Zemburuka added that domestic loans to state-owned enterprises, which are guaranteed by the government, stood at N$1,9 billion at the end of September 2018, while those issued for the purchasing of farms stood at N$223 million during the same period.
"Foreign loans to SOEs that are guaranteed by the government amounted to N$9,1 billion as at the end of September 2018. Currently, there are no loan guarantees to private enterprises," he reiterated.
The reason why foreign loan guarantees are more than domestic loan guarantees is because there are diverse opportunities from foreign sources of funding, for example multilateral and bilateral institutions, than those available domestically.
Domestic loan guarantees are loans issued by domestic financial institutions to SOEs, or purchases of farms under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme for emerging farmers, which are guaranteed by the government, while foreign loan guarantees are loans issued by foreign financial institutions, also guaranteed by the government.
In the event of defaults, the government takes over the responsibility for the loans.
However, Zemburuka noted that the level of guarantees as a percentage of gross domestic product is still well below the benchmark level of 10% of GDP.
"Total loan guarantees as a percentage of G11bDP stood at 6,1% at the end of September 2018. The level of guarantees is manageable since it is well below the benchmark, and therefore, there is no need for concern at this stage," he stressed.
According to statistics, domestic government debt stood at roughly N$52 billion during the second quarter of 2018, compared to approximately N$47 billion during the second quarter of 2017. Total central government debt stood close to N$81 billion during the second quarter of 2018, compared to roughly N$74 billion during 2017.
An investment strategist at Broadside Capital, Ngoni Bopoto, told The Namibian earlier this year that the government has succeeded in slowing down growth in domestic debt over the past two years from 45,1% on a yearly basis in February 2017 to 17,5% recorded in January 2019.
"While the slowdown is commendable, the level of growth remains high, and a contracting economy mutes the impact on macro-prudential ratios, such as the budget deficit and debt to GDP," he noted.
Bopoto added that it is critical that the government executes alternative strategies to finance the fiscus, while reining in expenditure.
Read the original article on Namibian.
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