No more manna for SOEs

29 March 2019 | Economics

In what has become a yearly occurrence, the government has yet again decided to give the lion's share of the budget for state-owned enterprises to Air Namibia.
This year's N$500 million allocation is notably less than last year's N$740 million though. The only SOE to receive anything close to what was allocated to Air Namibia was the NBC, which was allocated N$140 million. Other allocations include the Development Bank of Namibia (N$50 million), the Financial Intelligence Centre (N$26 million), the Namibia Standards Institute (N$18 million), the Environment Investment Fund (N$14 million) and state mining company Epangelo (N$7 million). The Roads Contractor Company, whose future remains uncertain, was allocated N$20 million, while a further N$16 million and N$17 million are earmarked for the financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein said SOEs' budget allocations were gradually being reduced. “Transfers to commercial public enterprises are budgeted at N$836.5 million, reducing to N$815.6 million in the financial year 2020/21 and reaching about N$838.3 million by financial year 2021/22.
This reflects a reduction from historical levels,” he said.
“Public enterprises need to demonstrate that they are delivering value for money in the delivery of good services to the public, who are effectively paying taxes to subsidise these organisations,” he said.
The National Youth Service and the National Youth Council received N$35 million and N$24.5 million respectively.
State media organisations New Era Public Corporation and the Namibia Press Agency received N$10 million and N$15 million respectively while Namzim, the publisher of the regional weekly Southern Times, received N$5 million.
Schlettwein also warned that governance at SOEs would be significantly improved.
“The Public Enterprises Governance Bill was approved by the National Assembly and reviewed by the National Council. Its passing will enable a wholesale review of many of the current public enterprises, with the objective of making them into economically viable enterprises,” Schlettwein said.
The ministry of higher education, training and innovation received N$3.1 billion, of which N$911.9 million is for the University of Namibia, N$500 million for the Namibia University of Science and Technology, and N$1.1 billion for NSFAF. The Namibia College of Open Learning was allocated N$100 million, and the Namibia Qualification Authority N$30 million.
“Such resource outlay reflects government's commitment to invest in the youth and human capital development as the central driver of sustainable development and poverty reduction over time,” said Schlettwein.

OGONE TLHAGE

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