Namibia tables bigger fiscal budget for 2024/2025 financial year

WINDHOEK, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Namibian Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi on Wednesday presented a significant budget of 100.1 billion Namibia dollars (about 5.2 billion U.S. dollars) for the financial year 2024/2025, with a central focus on continuing the legacy of late president Hage G. Geingob by prioritizing the welfare of the Namibian child.

Speaking before parliament during the budget speech, Shiimi emphasized that the total budget has surged 12.4 percent compared to the previous year's estimates. For Namibians, the financial year starts April 1 and ends March 31 the following year.

The FY2024/2025 budget, as outlined by Shiimi, is geared towards stimulating domestic demand, bolstering public infrastructure, and upholding fiscal responsibility to ensure Namibia's ability to meet its debt obligations efficiently within the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

"The FY2024/2025 National Budget contains macroeconomic policy proposals aimed at supporting economic growth through accelerating infrastructure development," he explained.

Shiimi also attributed the robust growth in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to enhancements in tax administration by the Namibia Revenue Authority, leading to significant improvements in revenue streams and key fiscal indicators.

Despite the positive trajectory, Shiimi cautioned about the impending repayment of a substantial portion of the government's debt portfolio over the MTEF, with the largest maturity being the 750 million U.S. dollars Eurobond due on Oct. 29, 2025. "This is the largest single-day debt maturity in the history of our country," he noted.

Shiimi said that Namibia is committed to redirecting part of the increase in revenues towards the sinking fund to manage the rollover risk and contain increases in future debt service obligations.

"This will ensure that we minimize a potentially significant future drain on resources desperately needed for infrastructure development, poverty reduction, and combating climate change, among others," he said.

Meanwhile, Shiimi disclosed that the operational budget is projected at 74.6 billion Namibia dollars, reflecting an 8.8 percent increase from the FY2023/2024 estimates. Notably, this rise largely stems from a 5 percent adjustment in the civil service wage bill, amounting to 1.7 billion Namibia dollars, aimed at safeguarding against purchasing power erosion, he said.

Despite persistent inflationary pressures in recent years, Shiimi reassured that the budget addresses these concerns by factoring in adjustments to the civil service wage bill, effective from April 1, 2024.

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